LAUREL, MD - Hall of Fame trainer King Leatherbury reported Thursday that his 9-year-old graded-stakes winner Ben's Cat will get the winter off after finishing seventh Nov. 24 in the Fabulous Strike Handicap at Penn National.
"He came out OK, but not good enough to run back again this year," said Leatherbury, whose popular homebred gelding has amassed 30 victories from 53 starts and $2.49 million. "I don't want to waste his rest time, because if I run him one more time the later he'll come back in the spring."
Ben's Cat kicked off his 2015 season by winning the Jim McKay Turf Sprint Stakes in May on Black-Eyed Susan Day and being welcomed back to the winner's circle with a standing ovation. The gelding won the Mister Diz for the sixth consecutive year at Laurel and lost the Maryland Million Sprint by a nose before finishing seventh in the Fabulous Strike.
Leatherbury sent Ben's Cat to Stephanie Nixon's farm in Virginia, where he was greeted with a 'Welcome Back' sign.
"I thought that was pretty neat," Leatherbury said.
Leatherbury was noncommittal about when Ben's Cat would return to the races. But when informed of the Ben's Cat Stakes for Maryland-breds on March 19 at Laurel, Leatherbury replied; "Wow, I didn't know about that. Maybe I'll have to crank him back up a little earlier to get ready for that."