Last updated: 7/7/14 6:20 PM
|Ben’s Cat tackled Tightend Touchdown to defend his title in 2013
Maryland icon Ben’s Cat, only fourth in the Grade 3 Jaipur in his first try
at Belmont Park June 7, aims to rebound on familiar territory in Saturday’s
Grade 3, $200,000
Dash. The eight-year-old veteran has won the past two editions of the
five-furlong sprint on the Parx turf, where he set the course record of :54.96
in the 2012 running.
Bred, owned, and trained by a fellow legend in King Leatherbury, Ben’s Cat is
less than $15,000 away from the $2 million mark in career earnings. He has
earned that bankroll by dominating the Mid-Atlantic scene with 21 career stakes
victories, four here at Parx. Aside from his status as the two-time defending
champion in the Parx Dash, he also won two straight renewals of the Grade 3 Turf
Monster Handicap at this course and distance in 2011-12.
Ben’s Cat attempted a Turf Monster three-peat last September, but ended up a
rallying third to Stormofthecentury and Tightend Touchdown, both of whom he
meets again Saturday. Regular rider Julian Pimentel will be back aboard the
popular veteran, who had won three straight before his reverse at Belmont.
Tightend Touchdown rates as the 123-pound highweight, assigned one pound more
than Ben’s Cat. Runner-up in both of his previous Parx appearances last year,
Tightend Touchdown was just run down by Ben’s Cat in the Dash and by
Stormofthecentury in the Turf Monster. The Jason Servis charge capped his
breakout season with an excellent dead-heat second in the Breeders’ Cup Turf
Sprint, succumbing only to the reigning champion Mizdirection.
Although he made his name as a pace factor, Tightend Touchdown showed a new
dimension last time out, closing to score a repeat win in the May 31
Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup at Penn National. That newfound versatility could
serve him well in a race loaded with early speed. Kendrick Carmouche regains the
mount and figures to save ground from post 2.
Stormofthecentury, who sprang a 28-1 upset in his stakes debut in the Turf
Monster, could be rounding into that form in his third start off the layoff.
Seventh to Marchman in his reappearance in the Grade 3 Twin Spires Turf Sprint
May 2, Stormofthecentury improved to finish a hard-charging second to Tightend
Touchdown in his latest at Penn.
|Marchman won a pair of Grade 3s before his second in the Jaipur, in which Ben’s Cat was fourth
(Wendy Wooley/EquiSport Photos)
Marchman has been a revelation this campaign for Bret Calhoun. The Sharp
Humor colt wired the Grade 3 Shakertown at Keeneland April 12 and pressed the
pace en route to a 1 1/2-length decision over Undrafted in the Twin Spires Turf
Sprint. A stumble at the start of the Jaipur might have been costly, for he was
outfinished by Undrafted and settled for second. The cutback from six to five
furlongs could suit him better. Robby Albarado will guide the speedy colt from
the far outside post 10.
Another son of Sharp Humor, Sharp Sensation, invades from Woodbine. The Reade
Baker gelding has already raided Pennsylvania successfully, capturing the June 9
Karl Boyes Memorial in a track-record 1:02.10 for 5 1/2 furlongs over Presque
Isle’s Tapeta. Sharp Sensation has raced exclusively on synthetic surfaces so
far, though, and will try turf for the first time.
Bold Thunder led throughout in the Silks Run at Gulfstream back in February,
but the front runner was overhauled by Tightend Touchdown and Stormofthecentury
in the Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup, and faces a task to reverse the form. He
will likely have company early, thanks to the rail-drawn Mongolian Saturday and
the mare Quality Lass, who was all heart to prevail in the June 8 Satin and Lace
at Presque Isle. Atlantic Seaboard and This Ain’t No Bull have also flashed
speed versus lesser.
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