01/21/2014 12:04PM

Dick Jerardi: Go Maire Tu transforms into winning machine

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Mohamed Osman returns to the winner's circle at Laurel Park on Jan. 15 after collecting his first career victory aboard Princess Beau K.

When a horse has raced 41 times, you have a general sense of that horse’s capabilities. Unless that horse happens to be a 6-year-old based at Charles Town named Go Maire Tu.

Heading into last November, Go Maire Tu had won consecutive races just once in his 41-race career. And you had to go all the way back to the summer of 2010 in the horse’s second and third races to find that “streak.” When Go Maire Tu entered the starting gate Nov. 7, the horse was on a 13-race losing streak.

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He won that day by 5 1/2 lengths in a $5,000 claimer as the even-money favorite. He came back 23 days later to win by 3 1/2 lengths in another $5,000 claimer. On Jan. 4, he won an $8,000 claimer by 4 1/2 lengths. Exactly 12 days later, the horse was entered in a $30,000 handicap. Like he had done in the other races, he dropped way back and made a giant rally. This time, he got up by a neck and won his fourth straight.

The bettors have not gotten used to the new Go Maire Tu. The horse was 6-1 in his second win, 6-1 again in his third win, and 5-1 in his fourth. The first two Beyer Speed Figures were 62 and 63, better than he had been running, but figures he had earned during his career. The last two Beyers were 79 and 80, the second and third best of his career.

Go Maire Tu started his career July 5, 2010, at Colonial Downs. He has raced at Laurel Park, Delaware Park, Aqueduct, Tampa Bay Downs, Parx Racing, Pimlico, and 30 times at Charles Town. He is 8 for 30 at Charles Town and 1 for 15 at all those other tracks.

Owned and trained by Mark Shanley, Go Maire Tu now has 9 wins, 7 seconds, and 7 thirds in 45 races, earnings of $177,922, a wild winning move, and a four-race winning streak.

Leatherbury now fourth all-time

King Leatherbury, 80, won two races Saturday at Laurel Park, giving him 6,418 in his career, fourth all-time and one better than Jack Van Berg.

“It is great,” Leatherbury said. “The wins added up over the years. We have only had the one division the entire time, which makes it even more remarkable.”

Leatherbury tied Van Berg when Toni With an I won the fourth race and passed him when Princess Appeal won the seventh. Apprentice Trevor McCarthy rode both winners.

Leatherbury had four consecutive 300-win years in the mid-1970s. He finished in the top three among trainers by wins for six consecutive years (1975-80).

Leatherbury has received multiple nominations to be considered for the 2014 Racing Hall of Fame class. His career record and work with Ben’s Cat in recent years is a pretty strong advertisement. And if you are not sure about Ben’s Cat and exactly what he has been beating, consider this: Ribo Bobo won the Sunshine Millions Sprint last Saturday, getting a career-best 105 Beyer. Ribo Bobo has won 11 of his last 12 races. The only horse to beat him? Ben’s Cat in the Fabulous Strike Handicap at Penn National on Nov. 27.

Apprentice gets first win at 33

Mohamed Osman, 33, scored the first win of his career Jan. 15 at Laurel Park, when guiding Princess Beau K to victory in a $5,000 claimer. The former hotel manager from Somalia said: “I have wanted to be a rider since I was 28. It took me this long to get where I wanted to be. In 2011, I quit my job and went to South Carolina to learn how to break babies and have been galloping at Pimlico and Bowie since”

◗ The 77th season at Delaware Park begins May 17 and ends Oct. 22, a total of 81 days. The Grade 1 Delaware Handicap will be run July 12, a week after the Grade 2 Delaware Oaks.

◗ Trainer Phil Aristone got off to a sizzling start at Parx Racing in 2014, with 6 wins, 5 seconds, and 5 thirds from his first 28 starters.