In his career as a trainer, Ben Perkins Jr. has made occasional
forays into Central Kentucky from his East Coast bases. He is back at
Keeneland this week to saddle Jewel of a Cat in Saturday’s $250,000 Lexus Raven Run (G2) at seven furlongs.
“I was taking her to the track and went past the test barn and could
not believe it had been five years since I was last here,” said Perkins,
who that year sent out Wild Gams to a runner-up finish in the Thoroughbred Club of America (G2).
In Jewel of a Cat, Perkins has a filly in a similar mold to Wild
Gams, who earned nearly $1.2 million in her career that included a
victory in the 2007 TCA over Keeneland’s all-weather surface.
Wild Gams raced once on an all-weather surface before her TCA victory. Jewel of a Cat will have her Polytrack debut Saturday.
“She has run well on dirt and turf,” Perkins said. “We bought her at
Ocala and she breezed a fast time at the sale and looked good on
Polytrack. That was one of the considerations in buying her, but not the
Jewel of a Cat won the Coronation Cup at 5½ furlongs on the turf in her most recent start at Saratoga on Aug. 12.
“We looked at a couple of turf races at Belmont that didn’t go, so we
had nowhere to go,” Perkins said. “We looked at the Buffalo Trace
(Franklin County last Friday), but that was a tough field of older
horses for half the money, so we thought we’d try this.”
Wild Gams closed her career here in the 2008 TCA, and Perkins remembers her well.
“We sold her right after that,” Perkins said. “Her second foal by
Unbridled’s Song, Almost Famous, won his first start last month at
Churchill Downs for Pat Byrne.”