Updated on 09/17/2011 11:15AM

Leatherbury becomes 3rd to win 6,000

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Jim McCue
History was made at Timonium on Saturday as trainer King Leatherbury became only the third conditioner to saddle 6,000 winners when Cherokee Sunrise crossed the finish line first in today's seventh race on opening day of the state fair meet.

Trainer King Leatherbury won his 6,000th career race Saturday at Timonium and joins Dale Baird (8,819 through Friday) and Jack Van Berg (6,334) as the only trainers to have accomplished the feat.

Leatherbury's milestone win came in the seventh race with Cherokee Sunrise ($9.20), who was ridden by Mark Rosenthal.

Leatherbury had failed to win with 14 runners since winning his 5,999th race, at Charles Town Aug. 7. He had gone 0 for 26 at the recently completed Laurel meeting.

"We've been waiting for this for so long and it was very exciting to see him make his move at the head of the stretch because it was obvious we were going to win," said Leatherbury. "We thought we'd be doing this three weeks ago. We just couldn't win a race at Laurel and it got very frustrating."

Leatherbury, 70, recorded his 5,000th career winner on May 21, 1993.

A native of Maryland, Leatherbury saddled his first winner, Mister L, in 1959 at Sunshine Park in Florida. He has won a total of 51 training titles on the Maryland circuit.

Leatherbury won more than 300 races in four consecutive years during the 1970's. He led the country in wins in 1977 and 1978.

For all his success, the bulk of Leatherbury's stock over the years has been claimers and allowance runners. He has trained only two Grade 1 winners, Taking Risks (1994) and Catatonic (1987).