BALTIMORE, 5-20-11 – The Jim Stable’s Ben’s Cat stormed home a convincing winner in the $75,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint at Pimlico Race Course, the first of seven stakes races on the Preakness eve card.

Last away from the starting gate under jockey Jeremy Rose, Ben’s Cat covered the five-furlong distance in :59.71, rallying through the stretch to win by two lengths. Local Celebrity finished second and Super Chunky was third.

Bred, owned and trained by legendary Maryland trainer King Leatherbury, the son of Parker’s Storm Cat was winning for the 10th time in 14 starts. Ben’s Cat had to recover from a broken hip before he made his maiden debut at age four, then won his first eight starts, including victories in three turf stakes prior to today. Leatherbury has saddled 6,318 winners to stand third lifetime among all trainers behind Dale Baird and Jack Van Berg.

Ben’s Cat paid $5.60.

Jim McKay Turf Sprint Quotes

King Leatherbury (winning trainer, Ben’s Cat) – “I thought he would win, but that was a special win. He’s done that a couple of times when he’s fired in the stretch and rolled away. It’s beautiful when you see that. It’s very thrilling. I was concerned when he last, then next to last, then last. It did not look like he was kicking in. Then he swung him wide in the stretch and he started rolling.”

Jeremy Rose (winning jockey, Ben’s Cat) – “We didn’t get out there very good and I had to overcome a few things. But with the scratches it didn’t hurt us too much, and that’s what a good horse does. The main thing was that we finished where we wanted to . He was ready.”