The Jim Stable’s Ben’s Cat made a strong late run to surge past race favorite Bridgetown with about a sixteenth of a mile to go and then pulled away late for a thoroughly convincing two length victory in Sunday’s running of the $150,000 Parx Dash at Parx Racing. The six year-old gelded son of Parker’s Storm Cat continues to amaze, winning now for the 16th time in just 24 lifetime starts. He also added his name to the Parx record books, finishing five furlongs on the turf in :54.96, a new course mark.
Ben’s Cat had come to Parx last fall and rallied from tenth to win the track’s premier turf sprint, the G3 Turf Monster Handicap. Today, winning jockey Julian Pimentel hustled him away from the gate and established much better early position, sitting third through the opening half-mile. The pace was extremely fast with longshot Wild Memories racing out to a clear two and a half-length lead after an opening quarter in 21.46. Bridgetown was well placed, too, getting away well from the outside post in the field of eight, sitting second behind the speedy leader. Wild Memories stayed on through the half, covering the four furlongs in 43.58, but the contenders were all starting to get involved as they moved for the head of the stretch.
Sitting second, Bridgetown got first run and he charged past the tiring leader just outside the eighth pole. In behind the top two with a quarter mile to go, Ben’s Cat swung out for clear running as they turned for home and quickly found his dominating late kick. As Bridgetown took the lead, Ben’s Cat took dead aim and simply roared right by as they hit the sixteenth pole. Moving powerfully to the end, he quickly drew clear and hit the line a solid two lengths in front.
Despite his local success, Ben’s Cat, trained by the great King Leatherbury, was somehow overlooked at the mutuel windows, probably due to two recent sub-par efforts over the turf at Pimlico. He slipped off at an incredible price of 10-1 and returned his backers $22.80, 5.60, and 4.00. Bridgetown, the prohibitive 4-5 betting favorite was simply no match for Ben’s Cat today and settled for second, paying 2.80 and 2.20. Perfect Officer (8-5 second choice) was too far back early to catch the leaders. He rallied for third and paid 2.20 to show.