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In the end, nobody ponied up.
The Maryland Jockey Club announced today that King Leatherbury did not find an investor/gambler to pay the $100,000 supplemental fee to enter his horse, Ben’s Cat, in this year’s Breeders’ Cup. The deadline for payment was yesterday.
Official entries for the Turf Sprint will be announced tomorrow.
So Ben’s Cat, a homebred gelding who surprised the racing industry by beating far more moneyed animals again and again on the way to becoming one of the top sprinters around, will not be running for immortality on Nov. 5, when the best animals and horsemen gather at Churchill Downs for the Breeders’ Cup, the biggest day on the racing calendar.
It also means that Leatherbury, the third-winningest trainer in the history of the sport but a guy who’s never gotten any acclaim outside of Maryland, likely won’t get to close his 50-year plus career on racing’s biggest stage.
And, of course, the non-entry also ends one of the great stories in racing this year with a yawn. The sport coulda used that tale.
I’ve been trying to reach Leatherbury for comment.