See, the five-year-old won the Turf Monster Handicap on Labor Day at Parx
Racing which is part of the “Win and You’re In” series. By winning the five-
furlong turf race Ben’s Cat reserved himself an automatic berth in the $1
million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs on November 5.
However, Leatherbury didn’t nominate his horse to the Breeders’ Cup, meaning
a $100,000 supplemental fee has to be paid in order for Ben’s Cat to start.
The owner/trainer is looking for a person or persons to step forward.
“I have one guy from California interested,” Leatherbury said Thursday at
Laurel Park. “He would get his $100,000 back if we finished in the top three.
We would split whatever is left over. If the horse wins or finishes second
everyone is happy. It would be a tremendous human interest story with us
having to buy our way into the race.”
It so happens that Ben’s Cat defeated last year’s Turf Sprint winner
Chamberlain Bridge in the Turf Monster. Chamberlain Bridge finished third in
the 11-horse field.
“He has been a tremendous surprise,” Leatherbury noted. “I ran him for $20,000
in his first start, but he kept winning and winning and worked his way up the
ladder. The last race was his best effort. He is peaking at the right time.”
Ben’s Cat has seven stakes victories on his resume with five additional wins
in 17 career starts for $676,230. This year the gelding has posted four wins
in eight starts for $464,250.
Jockey Jeremy Rose, who was aboard Afleet Alex in winning the 2005 Preakness
and Belmont Stakes, is certain Ben’s Cat belongs in the Breeders’ Cup.
“He fits well in this race. I have plenty of confidence in him,” Rose
Five weeks before taking the Turf Monster, Ben’s Cat won the Pennsylvania
Governor’s Cup Handicap at Penn National and was victorious at Pimlico on May
20 in the Jim McKay Turf Sprint Stakes. His other win this year came in the
Mister Diz Stakes at Pimlico in early April, his second straight win of the
“It would be a feather in our cap,” Leatherbury said about winning a Breeders’
Cup race. “Some of the trainers in the Hall of Fame had just one big horse.
Buddy Delp had Spectacular Bid and Sonny Hine had Skip Away.”
The 78-year-old is not in the Hall of Fame even though he has 6,325 career
wins for more than $58.7 million.
Leatherbury’s phone lines are open for anyone who wants to get Ben’s Cat to
Churchill Downs the first weekend in November.