From that off-the-radar racing media source ...Washington City Paper - and the actual article headline - "There Goes the Movie and Book Deals: Ben’s Cat Will Not Run in Breeders’ Cup!"
So Ben's Cat, a homebred gelding who surprised the racing industry by beating far more moneyed animals again and again on the way to becoming one of the top sprinters around, will not be running for immortality on Nov. 5, when the best animals and horsemen gather at Churchill Downs for the Breeders' Cup, the biggest day on the racing calendar.
It also means that Leatherbury, the third-winningest trainer in the history of the sport but a guy who's never gotten any acclaim outside of Maryland, likely won't get to close his 50-year plus career on racing's biggest stage.
And, of course, the non-entry also ends one of the great stories in racing this year with a yawn. The sport coulda used that tale.
I've been trying to reach Leatherbury for comment.
The Two Bits, which drew a field of eight, goes as race 3 as the second of four straight stakes on the program.
The likelihood of a wet track should not bother Benís Cat, a 5-year-old owned and trained by King Leatherbury. In his only two appearances on the main track this season, Benís Cat won the five-furlong Mister Diz over a surface rated good and most recently scored by two lengths over a sloppy surface at Laurel Park in the six-furlong Laurel Dash.
Now 6, Benís Cat returns after a break of 4 1/2 months to face five other Maryland-breds in (April 7) Saturdayís $75,000 Mister Diz, the first turf stakes of the season at Pimlico. He prepped for his comeback with a pair of bullet four-furlong workouts in the identical time of 48 seconds over the main track at Laurel Park.
In winning his 11th career stakes, the 6-year-old Benís Cat ($22.80) sizzled five furlongs on a firm turf course in 54.96 seconds, breaking the course record of 55.42 set by Crimson Sun on Sept. 22, 2008.
Ok to further feed this old thread ... I wonder if the King will again put out this proposition with getting Ben's Cat to Cali for the Breeders' Cup? Why you ask? Because that darn cat just keeps winning
Sure, you say just another win. Check out the handicap he was given - a honest weight assignment if you ask me:
He ran the 5 1/2-furlong race in a sizzling 1 minute 1.64 seconds while carrying 128 pounds, 11 more than any other runner in the field of nine.
Benís Cat won the Turf Sprint for the third year in a row, joining Hall of Famer Safely Kept, Countus In, Docent and Mz. Zill Bear as the only horses in the 27 years of the Maryland Million to win three times.
He pushed his record to a perfect 5-for-5 on the Laurel turf course and has now won 18 of 27 lifetime starts with earnings of $1,216,090.
KL was interviewed prior on HRTV and said the horse would not be going to the BC as he did not want to put up the $100K. It was a very entertaining and real interview. He (like the rest of us) said he had bills to pay. I would imagine there would be a lot of expense in travel, etc. on top of the fee.
In 2011, Leatherbury entertained the idea of securing a sponsor to either cover or help defray the costs, but ďthat didnít go very far,Ē he said.
ďNo one has approached me,Ē he said. ďItís not a very good deal for them, and itís not a good deal for me as a business deal. Now, in terms of it being for sport? Of course, I have interest in running in the Breedersí Cup, but in order to do that I have to put the money up, and Iím still trying to figure that out.Ē
With his victory in the Turf Monster, the 6-year-old gelding would have his entry fees waived, and he also earned a $10,000 travel stipend. But his owner/trainer, would still have to pay a $100,000 supplemental fee to run in the Breedersí Cup.
Valid points with the costs and no guarantees, but man it would be nice to see a swing for the fences with such a live wire.
Ben's Cat was giving the 3-yr old filly 5-lbs (124-lbs for him and 119-lbs for her)
Benís Cat, who won last yearís Laurel Dash when it was transferred to the main track, came into the race with 4 wins in 7 starts this season, including the Grade 3 Turf Monster Handicap at Parx two races ago. His last loss in Maryland came in May, when he was fifth as the 2-1 favorite in the Turf Sprint at Pimlico. He is now 18 of 28 lifetime with earnings of $1,246,090.
ďHe ran his race,Ē said Ben Catís owner and trainer, King Leatherbury. ďHe got a great trip and ran the best he could. It figures a closer would win it and she established a new track record and beat me.Ē
Ben's Cat, a 6-year-old trained by King Leatherbury, earned $111,200. He has now won 19 races from 29 starts and has earnings of $1.35 million. Ben’s Cat returned $13.80 to win which shows that not everyone had faith the Cat was still in rare form
2012 Horse of the Year, champion turf runner, champion older male: Ben’s Cat (Dk. b. or br. g. 2006, by Parker’s Storm Cat—Twofox, by Thirty Eight Paces. Owner, breeder, and trainer: King Leatherbury [Md.]
In 2012 the 6-yr old gelding won five of nine starts (and one second) in 2012, all in stakes, and earned $557,060. Ben’s Cat has won 19 times from 29 starts, with 14 stakes wins, and has earned $1,357,290 in three seasons.
It was the 20th win in 30 lifetime starts and 15th stakes victory for Ben’s Cat, a homebred son of Parker’s Storm Cat owned and trained by King Leatherbury. Leatherbury indicated that Ben’s Cat, whose bankroll now stands at $1,402,290, will follow the same path he did a year ago, meaning the gelding’s next start will come in the Jim McKay Turf Sprint on the Black-Eyed Susan undercard on May 17.
Winning jockey Julian Pimental said he didn’t need to do much other than position Ben’s Cat slightly off a contested pace set by Steady Warrior and Disco Elvis.
According to Leatherbury, who both owns and trains Ben’s Cat, the 7-year-old gelding is getting better and better.
“He’s much more of a tiger in his training now than he was when he was 4 or 5,” Leatherbury said Wednesday morning. “He’s more aggressive. He’s a very intelligent horse. When he’s galloping, if another horse is in front of him, he’ll gallop like he knows he has to beat that horse. When nobody’s out there, he’ll just prick his ears and go along.”
After his win, King said that they'll follow the same path as last year. Why tamper with success and break the ATM machine?
Ben’s Cat, a 7-year-old gelding, has earned $1,462,290. He has won 13 of 19 on turf, and is 4 for 7 at Pimlico. He has won both his starts this year, and has won five of his last six races dating to last September.
Leatherbury, 81, has been a stalwart on the Maryland circuit for decades. He has won 6,383 races, placing him fifth all-time among trainers.
He said the McKay held special meaning because the late decorated broadcaster “was a personal friend of mine.”