Can Ben's Cat Be Beaten in the Parx Dash?

By J. Keeler Johnson ("Keelerman") Twitter: @J_Keelerman

Following last week’s extraordinary extravaganza of stellar stakes races (forgive the alliteration!), this week’s racing action will be a bit slower, although there are still eight fascinating graded stakes races on schedule, including the $200,000 Parx Dash Handicap (gr. III) at Parx Racing. This five-furlong turf sprint has drawn a deep and talented field of eleven sprinters, and offers an intriguing challenge for those who like to look for longshots. Let’s take a look at who’s running!

Parx Dash Handicap (gr. III)


# Horse Jockey Trainer Last race
1 Bold Thunder P. Hernandez Ortega P. Farro 3rd Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup Stakes (VIDEO)
2 Ben’s Cat Julian Pimentel King Leatherbury 2nd Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup Stakes (VIDEO)
3 Ancil Angel Serpa J. Scott 4th John McSorley Stakes (VIDEO)
4 Stormy Rocit P. Fragoso George Weaver 1st Allowance Optional Claiming (VIDEO)
5 Tightend Touchdown F. Pennington J. Servis 9th Elusive Quality Stakes (VIDEO)
6 Mongol Bull E. Perez B. Rainwater 1st Allowance Optional Claiming (VIDEO)
7 A Fleet Attitude A. Castillo R. Vega 1st Allowance Optional Claiming (VIDEO)
8 Stormofthecentury S. Spieth L. V. Ruberto, Jr. 1st Allowance (VIDEO)
9 Power Alert Elvis Trujillo B. A. Lynch 4th Jaipur Stakes (gr. III) (VIDEO)
10 Amelia’s Wild Ride A. Arroyo R. Preciado 1st Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup Stakes (VIDEO)
11 Mongolian Saturday J. A. Vargas, Jr. E. Ganbat 2nd Optional Claiming


The morning line favorite is the seemingly ageless wonder Ben’s Cat, who is bidding to win the Parx Dash for the fourth year in a row. Now nine years old, he’s won 29 of his 48 races and finished in the top three 41 times, an incredible feat that is as much a testament to his consistency and talent as it is to his longevity. Best of all, he’s showing no signs of slowing down this year, rallying to win the Jim McKay Turf Sprint Stakes (VIDEO) by a neck two starts back before finishing second by a nose in a strong renewal of the Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup Stakes. Given his great form, it would be a major surprise if he isn’t closing ground fast in the final furlong of the Parx Dash.

However, he will be facing a very strong field this Saturday, and it’s very possible that an upset could be in the offing. Amelia’s Wild Ride, who defeated Ben’s Cat in the Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup, is back once again, as is Bold Thunder, who finished just a neck behind Ben’s Cat in both the Jim McKay and the Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup. In particular, Bold Thunder could be a strong threat, as he possesses incredible early speed (he ran a quarter-mile in :20 4/5 at Tampa Bay Downs earlier this year) and he beat Ben’s Cat in the latter’s 2015 seasonal debut.

However, the biggest threat to Ben’s Cat is probably the Australian-bred Power Alert. Trained by Brian Lynch, the son of Alert set a track record when winning the five-furlong Twin Spires Turf Sprint (gr. III) (VIDEO) in the time of :55.17, and last time out he finished a strong fourth in the six-furlong Jaipur Invitational (gr. III), a race that was probably a furlong too far for him. Since arriving in the U.S. last year, he’s 3-for-3 at five furlongs and 0-for-2 in longer races, but also 3-for-3 on firm turf courses and 0-for-2 for on wet turf courses, which suggests that the distance and (hopefully) firm turf of the Parx Dash should be perfect for him. It’s also worth noting that he’s beaten Amelia’s Wild Ride in all three of their meetings and has twice beaten Bold Thunder, which suggests that he will be very competitive against Ben’s Cat. Sealing the deal is the fact that he will carry only 120 pounds, three less than Ben’s Cat and Amelia’s Wild Ride and two less than Bold Thunder. It’s not a huge weight advantage, but every pound counts, and if he stays near his morning line price of 9-2, I think that’s terrific value on a very talented horse.

For a longshot, you might want to take a look at Mongolian Saturday, who is 12-1 on the morning line and will carry just 115 pounds in the Parx Dash. Last time out, he could only finish a so-so second in a six-furlong optional claiming race on the dirt track at Thistledown, but that was his first start in three months, and was in all likelihood just a prep for the Parx Dash. After all, two starts back, Mongolian Saturday was beaten just 1 ¾ lengths when third to Power Alert in the five-furlong Silks Run Stakes (VIDEO) at Gulfstream Park, and one start before that, he won a five-furlong starter optional claiming race at Gulfstream by two lengths in the sharp time of :54.83. Based off of his last race—and his overall record—it could be easy to overlook him in the Parx Dash, but make no mistake, this is a very talented horse that seems to be getting quite good this year, and in my opinion, 12-1 would be a major overlay.

So to recap, I’ll take Power Alert as my selection to upset Ben’s Cat, with Bold Thunder, Amelia’s Wild Ride, and the longshot Mongolian Saturday my choices to round out the exotics.

Now it’s your turn! Who do you like in the Parx Dash Handicap?


Just for fun, here are a few race replays that I thought everyone might enjoy:

Runhappy winning a six-furlong allowance race at Indiana Downs
Mick's Miracle finishing third in a six-furlong allowance race at Santa Anita
Samraat finishing fourth in an 8.5-furlong allowance race at Belmont
Danette winning an 8.5-durlong maiden special weight at Belmont
Matterhorn winning an eight-furlong allowance race at Belmont
Mexikoma winning an 8.5-furlong allowance race at Belmont
I'll Take Charge (half-sister to Take Charge Indy and Will Take Charge) winning a seven-furlong maiden special weight
Samantha Nicole (full-sister to Rachel Alexandra) winning a 8.5-furlong allowance race at Belmont


To help keep track of all the Breeders' Cup prep races, here is the link to's Breeders' Cup news page. Also, here is the link to the currrent standings, entries, rules, and schedule for our "Road to the Breeders' Cup Classic" Handicapping Challenge.

J. Keeler Johnson (also known as "Keelerman") is a writer, blogger, videographer, handicapper, and all-around horse racing enthusiast. A great fan of racing history, he considers Dr. Fager to be the greatest racehorse ever produced in America, but counts Zenyatta as his all-time favorite. He is the founder of the horse racing website

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