Pimlico Race Course
Ben's Cat wins Mister Diz for 4th year in row
Make that four years in a row for Ben's Cat in the $75,000 Mister Diz Stakes. The Jim Stable star from the King Leatherbury barn carried Julian Pimentel to an easy 13/4-length victory over the firm turf at Pimlico Race Course on Saturday. "Four years in a row, that's quite rare," said Leatherbury, who owns, trains and bred Ben's Cat. "He is amazing." Sent to post at odds of 2-5, Ben's Cat broke with the leaders, patiently sat off a two-horse duel, moved up and swept by without urging and spurted away. The Parker's Storm Cat 7-year-old completed the five-furlong distance in 57.74 seconds and paid $2.80. Night Officer rallied up the rail to take second and Disco Elvis finished third. "He's a remarkable horse," Pimentel said. "We had a great trip. Those two horses went at it and I sat behind them. When it was time, I asked him and he took off." Ben's Cat is now 20 of 30 lifetime with 15 stakes victories. The win pushed his career earnings to $1,402,290. "This is our beginning race for this season which we've kicked it off the last few years, so we're going to follow the same format," said Leatherbury, who ranks fourth on the all-time win list with 6,375 victories. The 80-year-old credits Ben's Cat with revitalizing his career. "He brought me back to life," said Leatherbury, who has 18 victories this year, just seven fewer than all of 2012. "They were about ready to plant me, but we have come back to life by investing some of his earnings into the claiming game." Leatherbury indicated he expects Ben's Cat to run in the Jim McKay Turf Sprint on Black-Eyed Susan day on May 17.
Dahlia Stakes: Embarr and jockey Forest Boyce, who attended Garrison Forest, teamed up to win for the fifth time, beating 25-1 long shot Ask Me Anything in the $77,500 Dahlia Stakes for fillies and mares. Owned, bred and trained by Susan Cooney, Embarr and Boyce tracked Ask Me Anything in the one-mile turf contest, edged to the front at the top of the lane, lost the lead a sixteenth of a mile from the finish line and battled back to win by three-quarters of a length. Charged Cotton joined the battle late in the race and finished a very close third. "I wanted to be sitting about three, four lengths off the pace. There wasn't a lot of speed. I didn't want to be that close but she decided she wanted to be there so I let her do her thing," Boyce said. The rider has won five times aboard the daughter of Royal Academy, including the 2011 Broadmede Stakes at Colonial Downs. Embarr is 3-for-3 at Pimlico. "I was confident because Susan and [Cooney's husband, steeplechase rider Pat Cooney] would have her fit," Boyce added. "They do such a good job and she is just so consistent. She can be a funny horse but we get along well and she has never run a bad race for me." Embarr's winning time was 1 minute, 37.35 seconds, and she paid $8, as the second betting choice. The 5-year-old mare is 7-for-16 lifetime with earnings of $224,484. Julie's Love, the 7-10 favorite, finished fourth.
Terps' Thomas named a WBCA All-American
Maryland junior forward Alyssa Thomas was named to the 10-player Women's Basketball Coaches' Association All-America team. She was joined on the team by Stanford's Chiney Ogwumike, Delaware's Elena Delle Donne, Notre Dame's Skylar Diggins and Kayla McBride, Connecticut's Stefanie Dolson and Kaleena Mosqeuda-Lewis, Duke's Chelsea Gray, and Baylor's Brittney Griner and Odyssey Sims. Thomas, who was named Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year for the second straight season, averaged 18.8 points per game, 10.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists this season. She is the only player in the country to rank in the top 50 of all three statistics. She led the ACC in all three.
College baseball: No. 1 North Carolina (28-2, 11-2) took the lead with three runs in the fourth inning to rally past visiting Maryland (16-14, 4-10) for a 5-3 victory. Kevin Martir had three hits for the Terps.
Minor league basketball: The Bay Area Shuckers (11-7) fell, 136-116, to the host Rockville Victors (17-1) in an American Professional Basketball League second-round game. Terry Hosley (Parkville/Maryland Bible) led the Shuckers with a franchise playoff-record 48 points; Gus Chase (St. Frances) scored 30 and Rocky Coleman (Walbrook/Towson) added 14.