King Leatherbury On Ben’s Cat

BALTIMORE - Hall of Fame trainer King Leatherbury, 83, will saddle his 10-year-old gelding Ben’s Cat Friday at Pimlico Race Course in the $100,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint, a race he’s won three consecutive years and four out of the last five.
 
Bred, owned and trained by Leatherbury, the popular Ben’s Cat, a winner of 31 of 54 races and $2.5 million, is one of only five horses in the last 40 years to win 25 stakes.
 
Accompanying a photograph by Jon Kral are some thoughts by Leatherbury on his venerable gelding.
 
“He doesn’t seem to get older, that’s the amazing thing. We have the same exercise boy galloping him now as when he first got to the track and he keeps saying he’s as good as ever.
 
“He’s got a lot of fans, and some people send him treats. Some lady keeps sending treats and I don’t even know her. She just sends this big box of cookies and she says, ‘This is for Ben. Tell him to share them with all the horses in the barn.’ 
 
“See the thing is….you get good horses come up every year, but they don’t last. So people can fall in love with horses and two years from then they’re gone. But here’s a horse that’s been around and keeps coming back every year so that makes him special.
 
“He’ll probably be the favorite [Friday] and we’ll probably be the best horse in the race, and we’re expecting to win.”