Tag Archive | "King T. Leatherbury"

Ben's Cat-2013 Mister Diz Stakes

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Jim McKay’s Maryland Million Preview: Ben’s Cat – Turf or Dirt?

Posted on 17 October 2013 by Gary Quill

Introduced in 1986, the Maryland Million, a program of races restricted to the offspring of Maryland-based stallions, has been duplicated by more than 20 other states. Maryland-sired thoroughbreds are nominated before they become 2-year-olds and remain eligible for life to run in the Maryland Million races. After twenty-seven runnings, more than 220 stallions have been represented in Maryland Million races.

Thanks to Jim McKay’s love of his home state and thoroughbred horse racing, Maryland breeders have one day a year that they can stand proud and potentially pickup a few new clients. McKay originally proposed the concept and remained Chairman of the Board until his death five years ago. Twenty-two times attendance figures have topped 20,000 for the event.

Twenty-seven horses have won more than one Maryland Million event. Nine former winners are entered Saturday, including five runners looking for back-to-back scores: Action Andy (Sprint), Roadhog (Turf), Pagan Priestess (Ladies), Varborough (Starter Handicap), Motherload Hipster (Distaff Starter Handicap).

Only five (5) runners have won three (3) times on Million Million Day… Safely Kept  Distaff-1989-90-91), Countus In (Ladies-1989-90-91), Mz. Zill Bear (Ladies-1993-94-95), Docent (Sweepstakes-2001 & Classic-2002-03) and Ben’s Cat (Turf Sprint-2010-2011-2012).

Ben’s Cat has a chance to move into the record books. Owner/trainer King T. Leatherbury cross-entered the 7-year-old son of Parker’s Storm Cat into both the $125,000 Turf and $100,000 Sprint.

Leatherbury said Thursday morning the decision would go “down to the wire” (he’s expected to decide by Friday afternoon), but may have tipped his hand adding, “A mile is not my choice. If I was writing the race myself it would strictly be sprints. He’s won distance races but they weren’t impressive. He just won them. It wasn’t one of those wows.”.

The first 4,000 full-paid admissions and Maryland-licensed owners and trainers will each receive a free Maryland Million Sport Cap. On-track entertainment between races will include two pony races, Suttler Clydesdales, Goshen Foxhounds, Great Falls Vaulters and Special Olympics Maryland and a visit from Joey of War Horse fame, brought to life by puppeteers. What?! No wiener (Dashsund) dog races?

Party at the Park, located trackside in Paddock Park, will feature food truck fare, a full bar cornhole as well as Jeremy Plonk and Brian Nadeau from Horse Player Now’s Night School providing expert analysis of the card.

HRTV will have a live presence for the entire card with hosts Caton Bredar and Dick Jerardi on site. First post for Saturday’s 11-race program is 12:15 p.m. EDT at Laurel Park.

A few weeks ago, Jose Villegas, an exercise rider at Laurel Park was involved in a training accident which left him paralyzed from the waist down. With the local horse racing focus on Maryland Million Day, Frank Vespe founder of The Racing Biz website spearheaded an online handicapping contest to help Jose and his family.

Please join me as there’s a voluntary/optional $5 contribution to participate. Click HERE for more information.

It’s a beautiful day to go to lovely Laurel Park and celebrate this rich thoroughbred horse racing tradition in Maryland. Good Luck!

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Preakness Funnie with Crab

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Ben’s Cat wins 4th Straight Mister Diz Stakes, #20 of his career; Sunday (Day 4) Selections at Pimlico

Posted on 07 April 2013 by Gary Quill

BALTIMORE, 04-06-13— Make that four years in a row for Ben’s Cat in the $75,000 Mister Diz Stakes. The Jim Stable star from the King T. Leatherbury barn carried Julian Pimentel to an easy 1-3/4 length victory over the firm turf at Pimlico Race Course. “Four years in a row, that’s quite rare,” said Leatherbury, who owns, trains and bred Ben’s Cat. “He is amazing.”

Sent to post at odds of 2-5, Ben’s Cat broke with the leaders, patiently sat off a two-horse duel, moved up and swept by without urging and spurted away. The Parker’s Storm Cat 7-year old completed the five-furlong distance in 57.74 and paid $2.80. Night Officer rallied up the rail to take second and Disco Elvis finished third.

Photo courtesy Jim McCue, MJC

Ben’s Cat is now 20-of-30 lifetime with 15 stakes victories. The win pushed his career earnings to $1,402,290.

Somehow those who vote for racings Hall of Fame have failed to realize “The King’s” accomplishments. Maybe if they took a peek at the record books and saw that he is currently fourth all-time with 6,375 victories, King would be inducted sooner than later. The success of Ben’s Cat has helped revitalize the 80-year-olds career, as King is once again winning at a high percentage.

He brought me back to life,” said Leatherbury, who has 18 victories this year, just seven fewer than all of 2012. “They were about ready to plant me but we have come back to life by investing some of his earnings into the claiming game.”

Leatherbury indicated he expects Ben’s Cat to run in the Jim McKay Turf Sprint on Black-Eyed Susan day, May 17th.

The JockeyWorld.org racing term of the day is #97…  “Extended”

Recapping Pimlico’s Saturday 10-race card posted had 6 winners (3 Top Selections in BOLD type) having $2 WIN pay-offs of $3.60 (1st race), $6.40 (2nd), $12.40 (4th), $5.40(6th), $2.80 (7th) and $8.20 (8th).

The BEST BET of the Day (3 1-0-1) Mabroom (R2 #1 9-5 PT; 4-1 M/L) certainly caught the eye of the betting public as the 4-year-old colt not only went off the 9-5 favorite, but was claimed by King T. Leatherbury. Unfortunately for all who back him he ran a very uninspiring 4th. Being witness to the race, the comment line I’d give him would be “Evenly”, which happend to be the JockeyWorld.org racing term of the day.

The LONGSHOT PICK (3 1-0-0) One More Cat (R8 #5 9-1 PT; 8-1 M/L) had what appeared to be a beautiful stalking trip, pounced on the weakening leaders at the head of the stretch, briefly taking the lead, but struggled in the final furlong and got beat a neck for 3rd, 2 1/2 back from the winner.

SHOW Parlay Play of the Day, $20 on Bet the Cat  (R3 #6; 4-1 PT, 5-1 M/L) never engaged any of his rivals and something may have been amiss, as his jock threw in the towel before the 5/8th pole as he finished last. So in 3 days in we’ve burned through $40, but with $60 left we’ll start over on Day 4.

Selections for the Day 4 Pimlico Sunday, April 7th card are Page 2.

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Preakness Funnie with Crab

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Saturday (Day 3) at Pimlico Brings A Welcome Addition – Turf Races

Posted on 05 April 2013 by Gary Quill

Pimlico Saturday Promotion: Free* Pimlico Cap plus over $20,000 in Win Wagers and Flat Screen prizes!

Two turf stakes, the Dahlia for fillies and mares and the Mister Diz for Maryland-bred sprinters highlight the 10-race card on opening Saturday at Pimlico. The five furlong Mister Diz goes as the 7th race and is headed by Ben’s Cat (4-5 M/L), the three-time defending champion of the race. The reigning star of the King T. Leatherbury stable is 11 for 17 on the grass with career earnings exceeding $1.35 million.

“That might be some kind of a record (winning the same stakes race four consecutive years),” said Leatherbury, who ranks fourth on the all-time win list with 6,374 career victories. “He is coming into the race as well as he did last year. He is very sound and is maintaining his condition. I have had some pretty good runners throughout the years but he has to be considered the best one I have trained. We should be 1-2 in the race and hopefully this is the start of another big year for him.”

The Dahlia Stakes, a one mile event is the 9th race on Saturday’s program. Twelve runners are entered with Julie’s Love, the 7-5 morning line favorite. The 5-year old mare ships in from Florida after winning three of seven starts last year for trainer Graham Motion.

Drawing by Mel @dailyracefunies. To see more of Mel’s work, click here.

Walkwithapurpose, the Sagamore Farm 3-year-old filly who destroyed her competition at Laurel Park during the winter meet heads to The Big Apple. The MD-bred daughter of Candy Ride is entered in Saturday’s G2 Gazelle Stakes at Aqueduct. The plan was to run in the $50,000 Twixt Stakes at Laurel Park as a final tune-up for a run in the Black-Eyed Susans Stakes. But when the Twixt only attracted two other foes, trainer Ignacio Correas called the audible. Walkwithapurpose will face five rivals as the 3-1 M/L 3rd choice.

The JockeyWorld.org racing term of the day is #96…  “Exercise Rider”

Recapping Pimlico’s Friday 9-race card posted had a paultry 3 winners (2 Top Selections in BOLD type) having $2 WIN pay-offs of $12.60 (1st race), $29.60 (5th) and $5.20 (8th).

The BEST BET of the Day (2 1-0-1) Hold That Broad (R6 #3 4-1 PT; 9-2 M/L) was bumped at the break, prompted the pace between rivals, dueled for the lead through the eighth pole, then gave way grudgingly while staying on for third, returning $3.40 to SHOW.

The LONGSHOT PICK (2 1-0-0) Artic Raven (R1 #3 5-1 PT; 6-1 M/L) jock took advantage of his less experienced peers, allowing them to battle on the front in the early stages of the 1 1/16 mile event. When their mounts began to search for the oxygen masks, ‘Raven” was full of run in the lane and held off a determined foe for the victory to return $12.60 to WIN, $5.60 to PLACE and $3.80 to SHOW.

SHOW Parlay Play of the Day, $24 on Lindyhop  (R2 #2; 5-2 PT, 7-2 M/L) had a rough trip and never recovered per the Equibase chart, “steadied off heels near the seven eighths pole, regrouped and gained a good position down the backstretch, came under pressure giving chase around the final turn, angled four wide for the drive but had no rally” So 2 days in we’ve burned through the first $20, but with $80 left we’ll start over on Day 3.

Selections for the Day 3 Pimlico Satuday, April 6th card are Page 2.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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2012 Maryland Million Logo

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Jim McKay’s Maryland Million Day at Laurel Park Preview

Posted on 02 October 2012 by Gary Quill

This Saturday (October 6th) at Laurel Park is Maryland’s Day At The Race. Better known as Jim McKay’s Maryland Million, It’s the one racing day of the year in Maryland where owners of runners either bred in Maryland or their sire was state bred, qualify to run on this great day of celebrating thoroughbred horse racing in Maryland. The Laurel Park racing office announced that a total of 155 pre-entries (137 horses as 17 were cross-entered including Steady Warrior who is nominated to three races) were named to the 11 races for the 27th running of this event. First post is 12:35 p.m.

2012 Maryland Million Logo

The post position draw for the $1.05 million day will be held at noon on Wednesday, Oct. 3 in Laurel’s Terrace Dining Room.

Overall 11 previous “Million Day” winners are nominated, including three defending champions: Eighttofasttocatch (Classic), Sloane Ranger (Sprint) and Ben’s Cat (Turf Sprint).

The most decorated of the 137 horses pre-entered is Ben’s Cat. The 6 year old will attempt a three-peat in the Maryland Million Turf Sprint champ. Only Safely Kept (Distaff, ’89-91), Countus In (Ladies, ’89-91) and Mz. Zill Bear (Ladies, ’93-95) have won a MD Million race three (3) consecutive years. Ben’s Cat became owner-trainer King T. Leatherbury’s first millionaire with a repeat victory in the Turf Monster Handicap (G3) at Parx Racing last month.

Ben's Cat and King T. Leatherbury

Leatherbury is tied with Dale Capuano for the top spot in the Maryland Million trainer standings. Both conditioners have saddled nine (9) winners. On Saturday Capuano has two runners entered (Lunar Rock in Nursery and Hero’s Reward in Turf Sprint) while Leatherbury’s lone entry is Ben’s Cat.

HRTV will have a live presence for the entire card with hosts Dick Jerardi (from Philly) and Jill Byrne (a Kentuckian) on site. It’s ashamed that HRTV didn’t have the foresight to contract a native Marylander who closely follows Maryland racing and could provide far superior insight on Maryland’s Day At The Races. Now who (GQ) could they have (GQ) possibly (GQ) have gotten (GQ)?

Dick Jerardi of Phila Daily News + Jill Byrne racing analyst < Gary Quill at Preakness Press Box

An additional promotion on “Million Day” features a FREE Maryland Million cap to the first 4,000 full-paid admissions.

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Mario Pino wins No. 6450 tying for 11th winningest jockey of all-time; Saturday Selections at Timonium

Posted on 24 August 2012 by Gary Quill

UPDATE: Mario Pino rode his 6,450th last night at Presque Isle Downs, the last race of the night, to tie Sandy Hawley for 11th on the all-time jockey win list. Congrats Mario!

On Opening Day of the Timonium State Fair Meet there was a good mixture of Chalk City (i.e. favorites) and Bombs Away (i.e. longshots) winning, as trainer Dale Capuano saddled My Crazy Livi, the betting favorite in the opener who paid a paltry $4.00 to WIN while in the 5th race, there was a King T. Leatherbury sighting near the Winners Circle because his trainee, 28-1 longshot Closing Man, closed fast to score by a nose returning $58.80 to WIN, $18.40 to PLACE and $7.80 to SHOW.

Ellicott City resident, Mario Pino has ridden thoroughbreds in Maryland for 34 years. Approximately 2 weeks shy of his 52nd birthday, he is poised to become the 11th winningest jockey of all-time. On Thursday at Presque Isle Downs, he tallied career win number 6,449, just one shy of tying Sandy Hawley. On Friday evening (1st Post 5:30pm EDT) at the small, 5 year old Erie, Pennsylvania “racino”, Pino has is scheduled to have seven (7) changes/mounts to tie and possibly surpass Hawley to take his spot at #11 on a list of Hall Of Fame riders, with #10 (Earlie Fires) in his sights.

#1 – Russell Baze (11,679 and counting)
#2 – Laffit Pincay, Jr. (9,530)
#3 – William “Bill” Shoemaker (8,833)
#4 – Pay Day (8,803)
#5 – David Gall (7,396)
#6 – Chris McCarron (7,141)
#7 – Angel Cordero, Jr. (7,057)
#8 – Jorge Velasquez (6,795)
#9 – Edgar Prado (6,568 and counting)
#10 – Earlie Fires (6,470)

Best of Luck Mario on your quest for #6450, #6451 and beyond!
The Hall of Fame awaits you.

At Saratoga Springs, NY the NYRA is hosting their biggest day of horse racing with a 13 race card featuring the $1,000,000 G1 Travers Stakes as the main event. A field of 11 will go the classic distance of 1¼ miles. Absent are the big names from early 3 year old Derby Trail season, as many of those early stars (I’ll Have Another, Union Rags, Bodemeister and Paynter have been retired to stud due to health reasons. The 5-2 Morning Line favorite is Alpha, who won the G1 Jim Dandy over a sloppy Saratoga surface in gate to wire. Recall Alpha was the toast of New York racing leading up to the Kentucky Derby, where he had an Epic Fail, finishing 12th by 19¼ lengths.

Full analysis and Travers selection along with picks for Day 2 for the Maryland State Fair Meet at Timonium will be posted on Saturday morning.

Recapping Day 1 (Friday 25th) 9 race selections at the Timonium State Fair Meet… had 5 winners (1 Top Selection; payoffs in BOLD) having $2 WIN pay-offs being $4.00 (1st race), $4.20 (3rd), $7.80 (4th), $10.40 (6th) and $34.20 (8th).

Best Bet Houston Bull (# 1; 6th race; 4-1) got a patient ride from jockey Abel Castellano, Jr. as he stalked the 4-5 speedball betting choice, who from his past performances showed he barely could last going 6 furlongs, yet today they traveled 6½! So has the favorite got leg weary entering the short stretch, Houston Bull drove through along the rail to win by a couple lengths returning $10.40 to WIN, $5.20 to PLACE and $2.40 to SHOW.
Best Bet pick scorecard from 1 selection at Timonium: 1 WIN – 0 PLACE – 0 SHOW.

Longshot Issues And Answers (# 6; 7th race; 6-1) took his lagging toward the back of the pack early, attempted to make a late run but ran out of real estate, only good enough for 4th.
Longshot pick scorecard from 1 selection at Timonium: 0 WIN – 0 PLACE – 0 SHOW

SHOW Parlay Play of the Day, $20 on Nucky Thompson (#6; 4th race; 2-1) killed the parlay by failing to get the lead, got disinterested at that point in the 4 furlong sprint and his jock just packed it in while still 3rd in mid-stretch, allowed a rival to beat him for SHOW purse money. So with $20 down the drain, we’ll dip into the reserve to see if we can get one in the money on Day 2.

For the Timonium State Fair Meet, Day 2 (Saturday, August 26th) only a small chance of showers, so the track should be FAST…

1st race – $5,000 Maiden Claiming for 3 y.o. and up – 1 1/16 miles
#1 – Tigger Too (8-1) $$$ LONGSHOT PICK $$$
#6 – Katzimo (5-2)
#4 – Crown Court (2-1)

2nd race – $5,000 Claiming for fillies and mares 3 y.o. and up – 4 furlongs
#1 – Zalady (9-2)
#3 – Just Christina (8-5)
#6 – Subira (2-1)

3rd race – $16,000 Maiden Claiming for fillies and mares 3 y.o. and up – 6½ furlongs
#3 – Flat Out Foxy (2-1)
#2 – Scipion’s Girl (6-1)
#6 – Printasticat (9-5)

4th race – $10,000 Claiming fro 3 y.o. and up – 4 furlongs
#3 – Chac Mool (9-5)
#1 – A Fleet Spirit (5-2)
#6 – Malicious (3-1)

5th race – $5,000 Claiming N3L for fillies and mares 3 y.o. and up – 6½ furlongs
#7 – Kalahari Queen (2-1) $$$ BEST BET $$$
#2 – Joy Train (9-5)
#3 – So Best (30-1)

6th race – $25,000 Maidens for 3 y.o. – 4 furlongs
#1 – Love In The Rain (4-1)
#6 – Bomb Dust (5-1)
#5 – Don’t Scip a Check (8-1)

7th race – $5,000 Claiming NW2L for fillies and mares 3 y.o. and up – 1 1/16 miles
#5 – Tropical Jetset (5-2)
#7 – Little Piasano (7-5)
#2 – Awesome Caroline (3-1)

8th race – $5,000 Claiming NW2L for 3 y.o. and up – 6½ furlongs
#6 – Austin Brown (4-1)
#3 – High Gross (5-2)
#8 – Hong Kong Harry (20-1)

9th race – $27,000 Allowance N1X – 1 mile
#1/1A – Uncle Todd / Easton Jack (2-1)
#2 – Mcnair And Adger (9-2)
#4 – Warrensburg (9-5)

10th race – $25,000 Maiden Claiming for 2 y.o. fillies – 4 furlongs
#3 – Jen’s Bright Candl (4-1)
#2 – Sunny Spark (4-1)
#4 – It’s Closing Time (3-1)

SHOW Parlay available bankroll: $20 ($20 bankroll – $20 wager + $0 return)

SHOW Parlay Play of the Day: $20 on #1/1A entry Uncle Todd and Easton Jack (9th race; 2-1) because in my handicapping book, they are the best two in the race, as far as class. So if both can hit the board, the SHOW payoff will be a bit more of a return since only two betting interests get paid out of the SHOW pool.

Looks like Day 2 will get in all 10 races any rain hits the State Fair, so enjoy the exciting chase scenes thoroughbred horse racing has to offer. Good Luck!

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