10 years ago
• It took a bit longer than anticipated, but King T. Leatherbury got his 6,000th career win when Cherokee Sunrise captured the seventh race at Timonium Aug. 23. Only two other trainers–Dale Baird (8,831) and Jack Van Berg (6,334)–had more wins.
“It was exciting, but we thought we’d be doing this three weeks ago,” said Leatherbury, for whom a celebration had been planned at Laurel Aug. 9. “We just couldn’t win a race at Laurel (0-for-26 at the summer meet) and it got very frustrating.”
Leatherbury, now 80, on pace to one of his best years in the past decade, recently got career win 6,400 at Timonium.
• Popular and immensely successful 21-year-old Maryland stallion Allen’s Prospect was euthanized following surgery to remove a tumor from his throat and complications from a neurological condition.
The son of Mr. Prospector stood his 17-year career at Country Life Farm in Bel Air, and regularly had books of more than 100 mares. At the time of his death, he was the leading Mid-Atlantic sire in nearly every category, including lifetime progeny earnings ($38 million-plus), and he led the nation by number of winners six times, including the previous five years.
Country Life Farm business manager Mike Pons told Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred editor Lucy Acton: “In one of his early years at stud we bred him to 65 mares and we were embarrassed. Those were the days when a full book consisted of 40 mares. It may have seemed like we were getting greedy, but for those 65 mares, he probably performed a total of 75 covers.”
• The extensive history of Audley Farm was explored by Vinnie Perrone. The Berryville, Va., showplace had once been home to George Washington’s adopted daughter Eleanor Parke “Nellie” Custis in the mid-1700s, as well as the first Triple Crown winner, Sir Barton, who stood at stud there in the 1920s.
German pharmaceutical scion Hubertus Liebrecht purchased the farm in 1978. Upon his death in 1991, his heirs, led by racing-operation chairman Erich von Baumbach, sent longtime German stud farm manager Jens von Lepel to Virginia in 1997. Audley expanded from 900 acres to 2,300 and not only breeds horses for the auction market, but also produces hay and raises beef cattle.
The farm’s most famous resident in recent years was millionaire and classic-placed Bodemeister, 2012 Virginia-bred Horse of the Year.
• Retired stallion Ga Hai was the subject of the first “Pensioners On Parade” column to appear in Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred. The 32-year-old son of Determine, nicknamed “Big Don” by Tom Reigle, resided at Reigle Heir Farms in Grantville, Pa.
Bred in California, Ga Hai was a multiple graded stakes winner and started in the 1974 Kentucky Derby as part of the 23-horse field, the largest ever to contest the classic (he finished 14th).
Purchased at the end of his racing career by Dominic “Don” Tesauro, Ga Hai entered stud in Pennsylvania, where he sired 18 crops.
“Having him here is a constant reminder of Don Tesauro, who was a major client and good friend,” said Reigle.
• Jerry Frutkoff, Maryland’s racetrack photographer for nearly 56 years, died at 81.
Continuing to work until two months prior to his death, Frutkoff had shot his 55th Preakness Stakes that spring. In an interview with Maryland Horse five years earlier, he commented on his longevity: “I must have walked about two billion miles, which keeps you fairly fit and is good for the heart. And I’ve taken at least that many pictures. I don’t even want to guess at the number.”
In recent years, Frutkoff teamed up with Jim McCue to cover Maryland racing, under the name Double J Photos.