Tuesday, May 28, 2013


BALTIMORE, 05-27-13---Legendary trainer King Leatherbury, who ranks fifth on the all-time wins list, captured the first two races on Monday’s 10-race program at Pimlico Race Course, both in photo finishes.

The 80-year-old visited the winners’ circle with Classic Wildcat ($10.20), who nipped Tennis Racket in the opener, and Mayne Island ($29.40), who beat Craftwell’s Belle in the second. Apprentice Jorge Vargas rode both winners. The early double paid $86.80.

“Things come in streaks and right now we are in a good one,” Leatherbury said.

The two-win afternoon improved the Leatherbury barn to an impressive 13-of-50 during the spring meeting good enough for fourth place in the standings. Juan Vazquez leads with 22 winners, eight more than Scott Lake and Dane Kobiskie.
Leatherbury has 30 victories this season surpassing his win totals the previous four years. He credits the resurgence to superstar runner Ben’s Cat, who captured his 16th career stakes in the Jim McKay Turf Sprint on Preakness weekend. The son of Parker’s Storm Cat has earned $1,462,290.
“He has thrown some money into the operation and we are trying to put it to good use by getting back into the claiming game,” added Leatherbury, who has 6,387 career winners. “I now have 30 horses in training. Most of them are claimers so you don’t have to wait for the action.”

Ben’s Cat will make his 32nd start in the $150,000 Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup at Penn National Saturday night.


Sheldon Russell rode two winners on the Memorial Day card and now leads the jockey standings with five live racing days remaining in the spring meet. Russell has 25 trips to the winners’ circle, three more than Xavier Perez and Yomar Ortiz.

“I was pleased to get two wins today. I had some live runners today,” said Russell, who captured the Pimlico riding title two years ago. “Wins are hard to come by here at Pimlico. We have a lot of bug riders and trainers are willing to give them chances. The goal was always to win the meet and to be up three is good.”

The spring stand ends Saturday, June 8. Live racing will also take place this Friday, Saturday, Sunday and June 7.


Malcolm Franklin was a regular rider in the Maryland jockey colony from the fall 2006 through last year’s Pimlico spring meet, winning 342 races. Currently, the leading rider at Indiana Downs, the 23-year-old spent the last two days riding at Pimlico. He was winless in nine mounts but did finish in the money twice this afternoon.

Since leaving Maryland, Franklin has ridden at four Kentucky tracks (Churchill Downs, Keeneland, Ellis Park & Kentucky Downs), Oaklawn Park, Hoosier Park and Indiana Downs.

“There wasn’t any thoroughbred racing this weekend at Indiana Downs. A couple friends offered me a chance to ride so I decided to come back home,” Franklin said. “I love Maryland racing. It was nice to be back and see so many friends. I have done pretty well since leaving and am riding for some of the top trainers at Indiana Downs. Here’s hoping it continues.”

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