Maryland sensation Ben's Cat will attempt to become the seventh Maryland-bred to reach the $2 million earnings mark when the King Leatherbury homebred competes in the Grade 3, $300,000 Jaipur Invitational at Belmont Park next Saturday. A first- or second-place finish will allow Ben's Cat to reach the milestone.
"The last three years we have run in the Pennsylvania Governor's Cup and it fit perfectly into the schedule," Leatherbury said. "That was my original plan until the New York race came on our radar screen. I made some calls to see where some of the better horses were running and it looked like the Penn National race was going to be just as tough as New York so we made the commitment to run at Belmont. Since then it has changed a bit and there are two really outstanding runners going against us."
Ben's Cat earned his 21st career stakes victory in the Jim McKay Stakes on Black-Eyed Susan Day to improve his record to 26 wins in 39 starts. The 8-year-old son of Parker's Storm Cat has earned $1,967,990.
"He is amazing. He has the same exact form on our figure sheets as he did last year at this point," added Leatherbury, who ranks fourth on the all-time win list with 6,429 victories. "He shows no wear and tear, knock on wood, and he looks like he is as good as ever. My exercise boy has been getting on him for five years and he says he has never been better."
Cigar leads Maryland-breds with $9,999,815 in career earnings. Awad ($3,270,818), Concern ($3,079,350), Broad Brush ($2,656,793), Richard's Kid ($2,482,529) and Safely Kept ($2,194,206) also rank ahead of Ben's Cat on the list.
Boyce wins three straight Friday
Jockey Forest Boyce visited the winners' circle in three consecutive races Friday at Pimlico Race Course.
The 29-year-old was victorious aboard Lucy Boo ($26.40-race 5), Mr. Handsome ($10.80-race 6) and Manchurian High ($42.80-race 7).
The Garrison Forest High School graduate ranks fourth in the spring standings with 18 winners.