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Here Comes Ben Scores Kelly's Landing Repeat Before 25,523 'Downs After Dark' Fans

| Churchill Downs Communications | 06/24/2011 #
  • Here Comes Ben, ridden by Jon Court, strides out near the finish in his repeat victory in Friday's Kelly's Landing (Reed Palmer)

  • Many of the 25,523 fans who attende" Friday's 'Downs After Dark" racing packed the Paddock Garden (Reed Palmer, Churchill Downs)

  • 'Downs After Dark" fanFans "Ponied Up" for backside tornado relief by rounding up dining tickets or through cash donations.

  • Go-go dancers in the Paddock Garden reflected the "Cool Summer Nights' them as DJ Rap kept the beat going. (Reed Palmer)

  • A view of Friday's "Downs After Dark" celebration from the Paddock. (Reed Palmer, Churchill Downs)

Marianne and Brandon Chase’s homebred Here Comes Ben powered down the historic Churchill Downs stretch Friday night to score a repeat victory in $76,445 Kelly’s Landing overnight stakes by 3 ¼ lengths before a “Downs After Dark” crowd of 25,523.

Here Comes Ben, a 5-year-old son of Street Cry, broke sharply under Jon Court to grab a brief early lead and then settled in third behind pace-setters Captain Cherokee and Cool Bullet through fractions of :24.29 and :47.39. The Charles Lopresti-trained veteran surged to the lead a few strides past the quarter-pole and increased his advantage in the run to the finish.  He completed seven furlongs over a fast track in 1:22.26.

Here Comes Ben broke from the gate as the 5-2 second choice and returned mutuels of $7, $3.40 and $2.80. Stonestreet Stables LLC’s Captain Cherokee finished second to return $2.60 and $2.10, while G. Watts Humphrey Jr.’s A Diehl, who finished another length back in third, paid $3 to show. Cool Bullet finished another 1 ¾ lengths back in fourth and was followed in order by The Program and Spicer.

The victory was worth $46,800 and increased the Kentucky-bred’s bankroll to $406,264 with a record of 7-1-3 from 16 starts. Here Comes Ben, who recorded his fourth career win beneath the Twin Spires, followed last year’s victory in the Kelly’s Landing with victory in the Grade I Forego at Saratoga.

Racing continues Saturday with an 11-race program highlighted by the 111th running of the Grade III, $100,000-added Debutante. The six-furlong Debutante is the nation’s first graded stakes event for 2-year-old fillies and will be run as Race 10 at 5:25 p.m. (all times EDT). First post for the next-to-last Saturday program of the Spring Meet is 12:45 p.m. and the Pick 6, which has a carryover of $46,741, begins with Race 6 at 3:23 p.m.