March 25, 2019

Ben’s Cat earns fifth straight Mister Diz victory

Last updated: 4/5/14 9:06 PM

Ben’s Cat hasn’t slowed down with age

(Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club)

Julian Pimentel kept Ben’s Cat under a snug hold until a
furlong from home, then signaled for him to go and spurted away to win the
$74,250 Mister Diz, the first of three stakes races Saturday afternoon at Pimlico.

This was the fifth year in a row that the King Leatherbury
homebred has won the Mister Diz. Hall of Famer Kelso won the Jockey Club Gold Cup five
straight times (1960-64).

Making his season debut, the eight-year old son of Parker’s
Storm Cat covered the five-furlong distance over the good turf in 1:01 3/5.
Ben’s Cat won
by 1 3/4 lengths over Sonny Inspired, while Relentless Move finished another
length back in third.

“The horse outside of us (Relentless Move) wanted to go, so
we just stayed with him,” Pimentel said. “We didn’t have a plan. I always just
let him do his thing. He seems to know what to do and when to do it. He is as
good now as he has ever been.”

The gelding has amassed more than $500,000 in earnings for
three consecutive years and ranks eighth on the all-time Maryland-bred list with
$1,907,640. He is now 25-of-38 lifetime with 20 stakes victories. Pimentel has
been aboard for 17 of the wins.

“It’s an amazing thing. This horse is better than ever.
I’ve run out of material talking about him,” Leatherbury said. “His disposition
is very mild but he’s started to show more fire the last year or so.”

Leatherbury said Ben’s Cat will make his next start in the
Jim McKay Turf Sprint on Black-Eyed Susan Day, a race he won in 2011 and 2013.

“This is the best he has ever been coming back off his
winter layoff,” said Avon Thorpe, Leatherbury’s assistant. “He is training
better than ever before. I am expecting a really big year.”

One race later, Hickory Ridge Farm LLC’s Aunt Ellen entered the $74,250
Twixt without a victory in
10 starts but closed from dead last in a
field of five fillies to post the upset.

Horacio Karamanos rode the daughter of Pure Prize for
trainer Ferris Allen. The filly was far back throughout but came with a rush at
the end of the 1 1/16-mile test for Maryland-bred fillies to win by a head in
1:49 1/5. Her late surge moved her past odds-on favorite Steady N Love in the
shadow of the finish line.

“I rode her a couple of times before and she was still a
maiden and a little green, needed a couple of races to be in good shape,”
Karamanos said. “Coming around the second turn she gave me a good kick. The
favorite was looking around a little bit and moving. My filly was coming on
strong. I just got there and passed her.”

“The horse was training well,” Allen said. “Unfortunately
she was training better than racing. She would either move too early or make
some other kind of mistake in previous races. I thought sure Gary’s (Capuano) horse
(Steady N Love) would be tough in here.

“Horacio studies
harder than almost anyone in the jocks room. He watches all the replays and
reviews the races in the Form, as does Sheldon (Russell) who rode my other horse
(fourth-place finisher Charlie Renee). I’ll probably take her back to her
conditions because she is Maryland-bred and there is a lot of money to be made

Wrapping up the stakes action at Pimlico on Saturday was Susan S. Cooney’s Embarr,
who took the lead in midstretch but
was all-out at the end to win the $100,000
for fillies and mares. This was the second year in a row that Embarr had
captured the Dahlia.

Forest Boyce kept the daughter of Royal Academy busy
through the stretch and won by a head over C C Gold, with Zucchini Flower
finishing third. Cooney both owns and trains the winner.

“I don’t have to tell Forest much. She’s ridden her a
number of times,” Cooney said. “She comes to the races fresh this time of year.
I would like to try to put her back in some graded stakes but I don’t know where
she’s going. We’re looking at the Gallorette (G3 race on the Preakness undercard)
but there might be one before that.”

Embarr covered the one-mile distance over the good turf in
1:45 2/5. She improves to 8-of-25 lifetime with earnings of $309,645.

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