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.