Ben's Cat, in the midst of the first four-race losing streak of his storied career, is being pointed to a return trip to the Maryland Million Day program Oct. 22 at Laurel Park.
Hall of Fame horseman King Leatherbury, who bred, owns and trains the popular 10-year-old gelding, said he expects to run Ben's Cat for a second straight year in the $100,000 Maryland Million Sprint at six furlongs on the main track.
"We're going to go to the Maryland Million. I want to support Maryland Million Day and I've got really no other place to run," the 83-year-old Leatherbury said. "It's not on the turf but at least it's a little bit restricted."
It will be the seventh straight year in the Maryland Million for Ben's Cat, winner of the Turf Sprint from 2010 to 2012, and second in the one-mile Turf in 2013 and 2014 and last year's Sprint.
"I'm just looking at the logical spots. I passed up the [Turf Monster] this year and it depends on how he runs in the Maryland Million whether I go back to Penn," Leatherbury said. "That's a race where he happened to run the best number he ever got in his career on Thanksgiving eve . You can't forget those kind of things."
"He came out of the last one fine but when you look at his record you've got to suspect that maybe it's the beginning of the end, which is sad thing for me to say. He's not coming up with his big finishes like he used to. He's feeling good and he's sound, just like me I guess," Leatherbury said. "He's right there and he's in good spots, but when you ask him to run he just doesn't have that kick like he's had, which is a sad thing for an old man like me."
Leatherbury said he will give Ben's Cat his annual winter vacation before deciding whether to aim for a 2017 campaign.
"Whether it's worth bringing him back is the thing. Do we bring him back as an 11-year-old? He's always trained well and he's always felt good so he can fool you from that. The exercise boy always says he's as good as ever but then from the quarter pole home he's not the same as ever," he said. "So, we'll see. There's no reason not to run. If I can pick up a piece of it, that'd be something."
More Laurel Park: Medina, Minn., investment banker Dan Flanigan topped a 51-player field to win horsetourney.com's The BIG One handicapping tournament held Sept. 24 and 25 inside the second-floor clubhouse sports bar at Laurel Park. Flanigan, 45, earned $35,200. A live money tournament for the first time this year, The BIG One offered $103,000 in prize money as well as 10 seats to the National Handicapping Championship, eight seats to the Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge and 10 entries to the Horse Player World Series. According to horsetourneys.com, Laurel Park is expected to host The BIG One again in the fall of 2017. Qualifiers will take place starting in January.
D.C. United's Sarvas to miss two weeks with knee injury
Marcelo Sarvas, a starting fixture and experienced presence in the heart of D.C. United's midfield, will miss at least two weeks and perhaps the rest of the regular season with a knee injury, club officials said Monday. Sarvas suffered a mild MCL sprain in his right knee midway through the first half of a 4-1 victory over Orlando City on Saturday night at RFK Stadium. He will sit out Wednesday's home match against the Columbus Crew and Saturday's visit to Toronto FC. The club is then off for two weeks before closing the season against New York City FC on Oct. 16 in Washington and at Orlando a week later. United (8-9-13) is in a four-team race for the last two playoff berths in the Eastern Conference. The injury comes as Jared Jeffrey is getting closer to returning after missing four matches with a concussion. He was a "neutral" player in workouts Monday and could play this week, coach Ben Olsen said. He is listed as "questionable."
— Steven Goff, The Washington Post
College football: Johns Hopkins moved up one spot to eighth in the American Football Coaches Association's Division III coaches poll and two spots to ninth in the D3football.com poll. Salisbury moved from No. 15 to tied for No. 11 in the AFCA poll and from No. 15 to No. 13 in the D3football.com poll. Bowie State junior Diontae Jordan was named Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Offensive Lineman of the Week.
Men's college soccer: Loyola Maryland sophomore A. Mickey Watson was picked Midfielder of the Week and freshman Barry Sharifi Rookie of the Week by the Patriot League. … Salisbury senior goalkeeper Daniel Brennan was selected Defensive Player of the Week and Frostburg State junior Rodrigo Valenzuela Offensive Player of the Week by the Capital Athletic Conference.
Women's college soccer: The Patriot League selected Loyola Maryland sophomore Mia Sardella Midfielder of the Week and freshman Casey McKenzie Rookie of the Week. Sophomore forward Jourdan Ziff was placed on the weekly honor roll. … Frostburg State sophomore Haley Dalphon was named CAC Offensive Player of the Week.
Women's college lacrosse: Maryland will participate in five fall ball dates, including three at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex. The Terps host Florida, Notre Dame and Penn State on Sunday, Boston College, Towson and Virginia on Oct. 8, and San Diego State and Elon on Oct. 16. Maryland travels to Loyola Maryland to face the Greyhounds and Penn on Oct. 23, then heads to Georgetown to take on James Madison, Richmond and Stony Brook on Oct. 29. Maryland hosts its annual alumni game Oct. 30 at 11 a.m.
Women's college volleyball: Johns Hopkins junior Elizabeth Wuerstle was named Centennial Conference Player of the Week. … Salisbury senior Katie Stouffer was picked CAC Player of the Week.
College field hockey: The CAC named Salisbury sophomore Catherine Sweeney (Catonsville) Offensive Player of the Week and senior Jessie Todd Defensive Player of the Week.