Ben’s Cat, Famed Maryland Racehorse, Dies After Surgery Complications

Ben’s Cat: Better Than EverFan favorite Ben’s Cat continues to excel for Hall of Famer King Leatherbury. The Blood-Horse caught up with the 10-year-old warrior and his connections in Maryland, where he dashed to his fifth Jim McKay Turf Sprint score.2016-05-28T14:21:54.000Z

Ben’s Cat, the four-time Maryland Horse of the Year, has died due to complications with a surgery.

The 11-year-old horse underwent colic surgery to repair an epiploic foramen entrapment — the displacement of part of his small intestine — on July 6. He was euthanized July 18 due to complications that came up during his recovery from the surgery.

Ben’s Cat had earned over $2.5 million in his racing career until Hall of Fame trainer King T. Leatherbury decided to retire him in June 24.

The surgery was performed one week later at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington, Kentucky by Dr. Rana Bozorgmanesh, but he was unable to recover to full strength.

“I thought he had it licked,” Leatherbury said to Daily Racing Forum. “I was bragging on him so. I said, ‘Here’s a winner. He beat the odds.’ I’ve had it happen to a couple other horses and never had one survive. His granddam, it killed her. We had colic surgery done on her, and she died.

“It was devastating for me. It was a tragic end for a magnificent horse. It’s hard to talk about. It really hit me hard. I was hoping for a nice life for him after all the running he did.”

Ben’s Cat will be remembered by horse racing fans for his eight-year racing career where he won 26 stakes victories in 63 starts. Arguably his best moments on the track came when at the Turf Monster Handicap-G3 (in 2011 and 2012) and also at the Parx Dash Handicap-G3, The Paulick Report wrote.

2011 Turf Monster HandicapBen's Cat wins the 2011 Turf Monster Handicap at Parx Racing.2011-09-05T23:06:18.000Z

Ben’s Cat was primarily a turf-track horse, but did find success on dirt tracks, winning the Fabulous Strike Stakes three straight years (2012-2014).

2012 Fabulous Strike Handicap$200,000 Fabulous Strike Handicap — November 21, Race 4 Ben's Cat wins the first ever running of the Fabulous Strike Handicap at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course for legendary trainer King Leatherbury, owner The Jim Stable, and jockey Julian Pimentel.2013-02-14T20:04:18.000Z

The horse is a son of Parker’s Storm Cat, a horse that won only a five-furlong turf sprint.

When he was retired, Ben’s Cat went to Spring Ridge Farm in Versailles, Kentucky, owned by Bayne and Chris Welker.

“I had loved Ben for years and was beyond grateful that Mr. Leatherbury entrusted me with his care,” Chris said in a statement to The Paulick Report. “I am so thankful to the team at Hagyard for the round-the-clock care they provided Ben since his surgery nearly two weeks ago.

“Their efforts were incredible, but his medical issues became insurmountable. My heart is shattered, not only for Ben, but for Mr. Leatherbury, the team who took care of him day in and day out for years and the fans who loved him.”

Tributes for the late horse, who was a fan favorite, rolled in online through social media.

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