Maryland Jockey Club celebrated the birthday of legendary trainer King
Leatherbury, who turns 80 on Tuesday, March 26 with a presentation in
the winners’ circle after the third race. All fans attending Laurel
Saturday received a complimentary button and free birthday cupcakes.
“It is a little embarrassing but I appreciate the tribute,” Leatherbury said.
has 52 training titles at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course on his
resume, winning 24 of 28 meets at Laurel from 1981 to 1996 and winning
or sharing 26 of 35 meets at Pimlico from 1974 to 1997. He had four
consecutive 300-win campaigns in the mid-1970’s and was the nation’s
leading conditioner in 1977 and 1978.
got started because my father had horses, a breeder and owner and I
just enjoyed betting on them, really, so I decided to get in the game,”
added Leatherbury, who saddled his first winner in 1959 at Sunshine
Park. “I have never really considered this work. I enjoy it, which has
probably made the difference.”
LONG, LIVE THE KING
- became the third trainer in history to win 6,000 races when Cherokee Sunrise won at Timonium on August 23, 2003
his heyday, Leatherbury was one of the “Big Four” of Maryland racing
along with Buddy Delp, Dick Dutrow and John Tammaro—conditioners who
dominated the mid-Atlantic circuits during the 1970’s
runner Ben’s Cat won five stakes races in 2012 including his third
consecutive Maryland Million Turf Sprint, which gave the trainer his 10th Maryland Million score, one more than Dale Capuano for the top spot among trainers
· Catatonic won the Hempstead (G1) at Belmont Park in 1987
Risks had five stakes wins in 1994, including the Iselin Handicap (G1)
at Monmouth Park, three graded races in Maryland (William Donald
Schaefer, Baltimore Breeders’ Cup & Jennings Handicap) and the
Maryland Million Classic
· also won graded races with Learned Jake, Ameri Valay, Dynamic Trick and Ah Day
saddled four Preakness starters: Indigo Star (fifth-1978), Thirty Eight
Paces (fourth-1981), I Am The Game (fourth-1985) and Malibu Moonshine
really enjoyed the days of the Big Four,” added Leatherbury. “It was
fun trying to compete with them and it made us all better trainers.”
he currently ranks fourth on the all-time win list with 6,373 career
winners, Leatherbury is not a member of the Racing Hall of Fame.
think King was the easiest person to ride for, especially of the big
trainers. He was always so calm and collected-never really got over
excited. I don’t ever remember him in a bad mood which is unusual
because I know he likes to gamble a bit,” said Hall of Fame rider Chris
McCarron, who rode for Leatherbury in the mid- 1970’s. “I think the
individuals involved in placing the names on the Hall of Fame nomination
ballot need to wake up and examine his record They don’t even have to
dig deep on how incredibly successful this man has been.”
Maryland native is currently battling Mike Trombetta and Juan Vazquez
for second place in the Laurel Park winter meet standings, behind Hugh
McMahon, with one week remaining in the stand.
indicated Ben’s Cat will make his 2013 debut at Pimlico on April 6 in
the Mister Diz Stakes. The son of Parker’s Storm cat will be looking for
his fourth consecutive victory in the Mister Diz.