Ben's Cat fell short in his quest to become the seventh Maryland-bred with at least $2 million in career earnings, finishing fourth in the $300,000 Jaipur Invitational on Saturday.
He needed to win or finish second to pass the mark. Undrafted, owned by Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker, won the Grade III stakes.
Ben's Cat is one of the great stories in Mid-Atlantic racing, having bounced back from a broken pelvis to win 26 races in 40 career starts. In the process, he rejuvenated the barn of Maryland institution KingLeatherbury, who ranks fourth on the all-time wins list among trainers with 6,429.
"It wasn't a good trip," Leatherbury said of the Jaipur, in which Ben's Cat went off as a 2-1 favorite. "He did right, but then he got trapped and he couldn't finish his normal finish."
Cigar remains the all-time leading money winner among Maryland-breds with $9,999,815 in career earnings.
Baltimore County Stuart Janney III, co-owner of 2013 Kentucky Derby winner Orb, did not enter a horse in Saturday's Belmont Stakes, but he came away a winner in a big undercard race.
Norumbega, owned by Janney and trained by Shug McGaughey, stalked the front-runners in the 126th running of the Brooklyn Invitational and charged to victory in the third race on the Belmont Stakes card.
Joel Rosario, who brought Orb from well back in the giant field to win the Derby last year, held Norumbega in the middle of the seven-horse field before overtaking Micromanage and Cat Burglar to win the $500,000 Grade II stakes.
Social Inclusion, originally expected to set the early pace in the Belmont Stakes, left the day with a third-place finish in the seven-furlong Woody Stephens. He was bested by another speedy Preakness horse, Bayern, who won impressively under Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens.
"You just have to draw a line through the Preakness," said Bayern's trainer, Bob Baffert. "He lost all chance at the start. We were up against it here because we drew the [No.] 1 hole. He left the gate running, set some serious fractions and finished very strong."
Owner Ron Sanchez pulled Social Inclusion from the Belmont field after he struggled in the starting gate early in the week.
"He got a perfect trip, I guess," said Social Inclusion's jockey, Irad Ortiz Jr. "That horse that won, won very good. It's tough."
Perhaps the second-most anticipated showdown of the day occurred in the $1 million Ogden Phipps Stakes, which pitted three of the nation's best fillies.
In a mild upset, Close Hatches beat Princess of Sylmar by a head and finished soundly ahead of even-money favorite Beholder.
"I think when they advertised that this race would be held on this particular day, I think everybody started pointing to it," said Close Hatches' trainer, Bill Mott. "There was a lot of buildup to it, at least for us."