LAUREL, Md. — With his breeder, owner and Hall of Fame trainer King Leatherbury and 150 or so horsemen, riders and racing fans on hand, they committed the remains of the legendary Ben's Cat to the earth in the paddock at Laurel Park on Nov. 11.
The famed sprinter died from complications following surgery earlier this year.
Leatherbury laid a bouquet of orange roses (his colors that Ben's Cat carried in all his races) and said as a eulogy, “Ben's Cat was an amazing animal.”
Pastor Richard Monterrey, a retired Maryland jockey who was speaking for Ben's legion of fans, said he was a horse “who gave us incredible moments in Maryland and Thoroughbred racing.”
The attendees included Maryland Jockey Club President Sal Sinatra, Vice President of Racing Georganne Hall, jockeys Trevor McCarthy and Julien Pimentel, retired jockey Rosemary Homeister, Jr., assistant trainer Avon Thorpe and groom Fern Augusti.
After the third race on the Saturday card, Leatherbury received a collage of Ben's Cat photos taken by the award-winning Maryland Jockey club photographer Jim McCue and a portrait of Ben's Cat and Leatherbury by famed photographer Jon Kral.
The headstone over Ben's Cat grave reads:
April 17, 2006 – July 18, 2017
63 starts, 32 wins (including 26 stakes)
Bred and trained by
Owned by the Jim Stable
“The Beast from the East”
A half hour later, the famed Leatherbury orange silks were back in the winner's circle when Classic Wildcat won the fourth race.
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