05/23/2016 2:56PM

Ben's Cat family has deep ties to Leatherbury

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Michael Amoruso
Ben's Cat has 32 wins in 56 starts for trainer King Leatherbury.

In 1982, Thoroughbred owner, breeder, and, most notably, Hall of Fame trainer King Leatherbury purchased the Drone mare Dronette for just $57,000 in partnership out of the Timonium mixed sale.

It has paid dividends.

Dronette went on to be a productive broodmare, represented by several stakes horses, and several of her daughters also became stakes producers. She is the granddam of two Maryland-bred horse of the year honorees in Ben’s Cat and Ah Day, both trained by Leatherbury.

The remarkable 10-year-old Ben’s Cat, by Parker’s Storm Cat, captured his fifth edition of the Jim McKay Sprint last Friday at Pimlico. He now owns 32 wins, including 26 stakes, from 56 starts and earnings of more than $2.5 million. The gelding’s dam, the Thirty Eight Paces mare Twofox, also was stakes placed, bolstering Dronette’s production record.

“See the thing is, you get good horses come up every year, but they don’t last. So people can fall in love with horses and two years from then they’re gone,” Leatherbury said while discussing the popularity of Ben’s Cat. “But here’s a horse that’s been around and keeps coming back every year, so that makes him special.”

Three of Twofox’s other sons have kept coming back to the racetrack every year as well, working as Maryland Jockey Club track ponies: Hound, a 11-year-old Crowd Pleaser gelding who won 8 of 52 starts and earned $118,398; Pair, a 9-year-old Lion Hearted gelding who won 2 of 18 starts; and Too Sly, a 14-year-old Tamayaz gelding who won once from 15 starts. They also were in the spotlight on Pimlico’s biggest weekend as Pair accompanied Ben’s Cat to post Friday, while Too Sly ponied Preakness entrant Uncle Lino.

Ah Day also was hickory, earning $921,574 in eight seasons of racing, with 10 stakes victories highlighted by the Toboggan Stakes. The gelding is by Malibu Moon, a half-brother to Parker’s Storm Cat; and his dam, Endette, is a full sister to Twofox. Endette also produced Maryland Million Classic winner Due.

Dronette also produced multiple graded stakes winner Thirty Eight Go Go; Grade 3 winner Notches Trace, dam of stakes winner Jive Talker; and stakes placed Lone Roan.