09/30/2014 10:52AM

Jerardi: Career earnings help Ben’s Cat stand out

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Barbara D. Livingston
Ben's Cat, shown winning the Jim McKay Turf Sprint in May at Pimlico, has earned $2,175,990 from 43 career starts.

While recovering from the shock of watching Ben’s Cat have dead aim on the front-runners in the stretch of last Saturday’s Laurel Dash and not passing them, I decided to see exactly where Ben, with his 27 wins in 43 starts, fits on the career wins list.

Equibase lists 200 horses who each have won 31 or more races since 1976 while having at least one start in the United States or Canada. So, Ben’s Cat is not far away from cracking that list. If he does, Ben’s Cat’s record will become even more distinctive. There will be exactly one horse on the all-time wins list who has won more money than Ben’s Cat, and that would be the legendary John Henry, with 39 wins and $6,591,860 in earnings from 83 races.

Ben’s Cat stands at $2,175,990 in earnings and counting, just ahead of the very tough New York-bred Say Florida Sandy, who was 33 for 98, with earnings of $2,085,408, in a career that ended in August 2003.

There are just four other horses on the wins list who also won $1 million. Interestingly, two of them, like Ben’s Cat, are Maryland-breds and very familiar names. Little Bold John won 38 times from 105 starts and earned $1,956,406. Little Bold John was tough, talented, obviously durable, and a fan favorite wherever he raced.

The other just happens to be my all-time favorite horse, the great sprinter Dave’s Friend, who started out at the track at the same time I did. He was a 3-year-old the same year as Affirmed and Alydar. By the time Dave’s Friend was done, he had won 35 times from 76 starts, with earnings of $1,079,915.

The two other millionaires on the all-time wins list are the Ohio-bred Catlaunch and the Venezuelan-bred My Own Business.

Catlaunch made his debut Sept. 19, 2003, at Beulah Park. His final race was a decade later, on Sept. 8, 2013, at ThistleDown. The horse started 108 times. All but one start (a 2010 race at Mountaineer Park) were at Beulah, ThistleDown, or River Downs. The horse won 40 times, with 22 seconds, 15 thirds, and earnings of $1,122,309, before being retired last year.

My Own Business won 37 of 50 starts and earned $1,016,908. He was a killer in his home country, not so much here. In six American starts in 2001 and 2002 at Saratoga, Belmont Park, Calder, and Gulfstream Park, My Own Business was beaten by a combined 105 3/4 lengths.

Trainer King Leatherbury was mystified by Ben’s Cat’s third-place finish in the Dash. The horse was beaten by one length after six furlongs on grass in 1:07.99. That the trainer was stunned tells you all you need to know about how consistent Ben’s Cat has been since his debut on May 8, 2010.

And six furlongs on grass has not been his best race anyway. He is just 2 for 5 at the distance while 11 for 18 at five furlongs on grass and 5 for 6 at six furlongs on dirt.

Ben’s Cat likely will have two more starts this year before gearing up for 2015, when he will turn 9 and make a run at 30 lifetime wins. Ben’s Cat isn’t going to catch John Henry, but all those other big winners will have Ben’s Cat to catch on the earnings list when and if the horse ever retires.

Staying on fire at Charles Town

Anyone can get hot for a few days or a few weeks. Owner Robert Cole and trainer Kevin Patterson have been hot all year at Charles Town and show no signs of cooling off.

Cole’s horses have made 76 starts at Charles Town this year, with 33 wins, 16 seconds, and 11 thirds. He is winning at a 43 percent clip, with 79 percent of his starters in the money.

Patterson, who trains for Cole and a few other owners, has put up similar crazy numbers. His horses have started 122 times in 2014, with 50 wins, 27 seconds, and 18 thirds. He has won 41 percent of those starts, with 78 percent in the money.

Steve More than 1 year ago
Hey....I got an idea ...instead of worrying who is cheating ,just go with it like I do ...all Patterson's claims are about 46% winners and they usually improve dramatically ...easy money ! and if Charles Town doesn't care why shoud you! Makes handicapping easy ,just find the exacta,especially @ 4 furlongs.
Chuck Seeger More than 1 year ago
Hey Jerardi, you've been around this game long enough to know the numbers Patterson have put up simply don't jive. Instead of extolling his virtues by saying " he's been hot all year", why not attempt some journalistic investigation as to why he can produce these numbers. Name one trainer in the Hall of Fame who produced numbers like this over an entire year. You can't. But you lazy basT#$%ds in the press no longer understand that you're the only ones who can protect the public from this type of cheating that's going on here. Yes I'm saying it - Patterson is cheating, and it's your responsibility to the public to find out what's going on. Why don't you tell us what the Charles Town officials think about this, or what they've done as far as investigating this situation. Or are they in your camp as well - standing on the sidelines in the pleated skirts and pompoms.
Kapri More than 1 year ago
up to I looked at the check saying $4286 , I didn't believe that my mom in-law realey receiving money parttime at their computer. . there friends cousin has done this for under twenty two months and resently cleared the dept on there condo and purchased Chevrolet . official website,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, www.YuJobs.Com
Bill Kaup More than 1 year ago
Memory is back: Isella was the horse's name and sprinting at Pimlico was his game.
Bill Kaup More than 1 year ago
Ben's Cat is one remarkable animal as were all the others mentioned. I, too, remember Dave's Friend very well and saw him race often. The only sprinter in Maryland he had trouble with was a horse trained by Lou "Blue" named after a Little Italy maitre'd whose name escapes me. Lou told me once that after the horse was transferred to the barn of Laz Barrera he worked him with the great Affirmed and Affirmed could not keep up with him. Laz said he was one of the fastest horses ever to come into his barn. Those were memorable times. Too bad my memory isn't better.
Nick Sisti More than 1 year ago
Make the purse adjustment to reflect today's purses and Dave's friend little bold john and John Henry are all the more impressive
Marvin Friedman More than 1 year ago
Lotsa great memories there,my personal favorite..?Forgo, check out some of the fields he beat in his prime and his prime lasted a long time . I can still here Chick Anderson's call "and the champs gonna run today" I believe the Met Mile,I could be wrong though. The only job I ever had in my life where I couldn't wait to get to work was as a bartender in The Turf Club at Del Park in the 70's.Saw KT and Bud Delp battle for training honors every year,or so it seemed. I believe around 18 ,000 showed up for the Delcap the year Susans Girl won.what a time that was O
michael More than 1 year ago
And yet, King Leatherbury is not in the Hall of Fame. i would like to know, why not? There are others in the Hall who are questionable, to me the king's credentials are there manifest. Put the King in the Hall in 2015!!
Howard Schwartz More than 1 year ago
Include Dale Baird in the Hall of Fame.
mike More than 1 year ago
Robert Cole used to have David Wells as his trainer.........big time cheater. I hope Mr Patterson doesn't work the same way as Scooter Davis did.
mike More than 1 year ago
Meant Wells not Davis....... they are both cheaters though
Steve More than 1 year ago
Hey Jerardi..remember that time we went to meadowlands and bet Daves Friend w/everything we had including a one ticket exacta .Even though he was sick that nite he gamely held on for the win and we were happy as could be..those were good times