‘Hanging In There’: At 85, Leatherbury Poised To Reach 6,500 Victories

Hall of Fame horseman King Leatherbury will reach the 6,500 mark with his next victory, which could come as soon as Saturday at Laurel Park.

Leatherbury, 85, has Norman Lewis’ Chateau de Vizille entered in Race 8, a second-level $42,000 allowance for 3-year-olds and up scheduled for 1 1/16 miles over the Exceller turf course. Co-highweighted at 124 pounds, the 6-year-old Jazil gelding drew Post 8 in a field of 11.

“We’ve got a live horse in Saturday, in a good spot. We had him in [Wednesday] at Parx because he’s Pennsylvania-bred and the owner, who also bred the horse, wanted to run him up there. With all the bonuses I don’t blame him,” Leatherbury said. “We went up there, it started raining and they took it off the turf. I was happy because when I get to 6,500 I’d like it to be in Maryland.”

Best known for his work with Ben’s Cat, the late Mid-Atlantic legend he bred, owned and trained to 32 wins, 26 in stakes, more than $2.6 million in purse earnings and four Maryland-bred Horse of the Year titles from 2010-17, Leatherbury’s stable is down to 11 horses.

He has four wins and a third from 11 starters at Laurel’s current summer meet, his last victory also coming with Chateau de Vizille July 1. For the year, Leatherbury has won seven races and $181,285 in purses from 45 starters.

“The next win will probably be the last milestone I hit,” he said. “I don’t think I’ll ever get to 7,000 but I’ve had a lot of wins and I’m proud of that.”

A winner of 26 training titles apiece at Laurel and legendary Pimlico Race Course, Leatherbury won at least 200 races for 11 straight years from 1974 through 1984, leading all American trainers in victories in 1976 and 1977. He won at least 100 races 26 consecutive years (1972-97) and topped $1 million in annual earnings 32 times, including a streak from 1974 to 1999.

Leatherbury ranks fifth all-time with 6,499 wins, trailing only Dale Baird (9,445) and fellow Hall of Famers Steve Asmussen (8,095), Jerry Hollendorfer (7,475) and Jack Van Berg (6,523). Closest to Leatherbury is Maryland regular Scott Lake at 5,926.

“I’m kind of just hanging on. What did General [Douglas] MacArthur say, ‘Old soldiers never die, they just fade away?’ I’m just kind of fading away, but I’m hanging in there,” Leatherbury said. “The lucky part is I’m still healthy and I’m definitely happy to say that. I’m going as long as I can and try to keep winning races.”

The post ‘Hanging In There’: At 85, Leatherbury Poised To Reach 6,500 Victories appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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