Fans of Ben's Cat, the Maryland-bred horse racing legend who died earlier this year, will have an opportunity to celebrate the famous thoroughbred's accomplishments at Laurel Park Nov. 11.
That day, Laurel Park will have six stakes races on its card, and admirers of Ben's Cat, who finished with 32 career wins, will have an opportunity to collect mementoes of the four-time Maryland-bred Horse of the Year.
The first 4,000 program purchasers will receive a Ben's Cat bobblehead and there will also be a giveaway of Ben's Cat posters while supplies late.
In addition, there will be a burial of Ben's Cat's ashes near the Laurel Paddock. There also will be an autograph opportunity with Ben's Cat trainer and owner King Leatherbury and five of the jockeys who rode Ben's Cat to victory, including Trevor McCarthy and Jeremy Rose.
There will even be a cocktail sold in a commemorative cup.
Folks who plan to go should know that there is a special earlier first post time of noon.
Ben's Cat raced until he was 11 years old and was 32-9-7 in 63 starts. Of his 32 wins, 26 were in stakes or graded races.
He was retired from racing in June and headed for a well-deserved life of mostly rest and leisure in Kentucky, but he was soon struck with a serious case of colic. Complications arose from surgery, and he was humanely euthanized in July.
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There is racing at this weekend at Laurel Park, Oct. 27-30, with a Halloween costume party from 8 p.m.-2 a.m. Oct. 28 in the Terrace Dining Room. There are dance lessons from 8 p.m.-10 p.m. ($18) and a party to follow from 10 p.m.-2 a.m. ($15).
First post time for live racing is 1:10 p.m.
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A crowd of 22,682 watched the 32nd running of the Jim McKay Maryland Million Oct. 21, up 4.4 percent over last year. Total handle on Million Day was $4.377 million compared to $4.476 million in 2016. In-state handle was $566,086, up 2.8 percent over the previous year.
"While we were missing some marquee names that had competed in the past, we were pleased with Saturday's program and festivities on Maryland Million Day," said Sal Sinatra, president and general manager of the Maryland Jockey Club. "Field size was up, we showed increases in attendance and in-state handle, and the crowd was spectacular."
Maryland Million Day was highlighted by Bonus Point winning the $150,000 Classic, a victory that provided Maryland-native jockey Nik Juarez with his third victory of the afternoon.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Maryland Jockey Club