Ben's Cat before the 2014 Jim McKay Turf Sprint. Photo by Laurie Asseo.

Ben’s Cat before the 2014 Jim McKay Turf Sprint. Photo by Laurie Asseo.

From a Maryland Jockey Club release

In case trainer King Leatherbury needed any reminder of the popularity of his 9-year-old gelding Ben’s Cat, it came recently in the form of a package to the barn.

“I just got a bucket full of horse cookies – It costs about $50 for these cookies,” Leatherbury said. “The woman’s name was on the bucket and so I called and I asked, ‘Do I know you?’ And she said ‘No.’ I said, ‘Well then what are you doing?’ She said, ‘I’m just a big fan of Ben.’ ”

“He’s probably the most famous horse in this area that there’s ever been,” said Leatherbury, one of the Mid-Atlantic’s most famous horseman and an inductee to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. “For one thing, not only is he exciting to watch, but he’s lasted so long that it gives people a chance to know him.”


The graded-stakes winning Ben’s Cat, bred by Leatherbury and a winner of 29 of 48 races and $2.4 million, shows no sign of slowing down. His winning performance May 15 on Black-Eyed Susan Day at Pimlico in the Turf Sprint Handicap shook the building. He followed that up with a gutsy second-place finish, beaten a nose, in the Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup May 30 despite not getting the best of trips.

Leatherbury called the Governor’s Cup a “heartbreaker.”

“I really expected to win so it was a little disappointing,” he said. “But he ran a dynamite race and he didn’t get a very good trip. In fact, the races he usually gets beat in, he doesn’t get a good trip.”

Ben’s Cat, who has placed first, second or third in 41 of his 48 races, came out of the Governor’s Cup well and is now being pointed toward the $200,000 Parx Dash (G3) July 11, a race he won last year.

Under Leatherbury’s shedrow, Ben’s Cat continues to love his work.

“In fact, the exercise boy who’s been on him ever since he first came to the track keeps saying he’s better than ever,” Leatherbury said. “He appears to be in the best shape to have a good 9-year-old season.”