Crown Queen, Queen Elizabeth 11 Challenge Cup, Keeneland, October 11th 2014
Trained by Bill Mott, Sire: Smart Strike. Dam: Delta Princess
Royal Delta, Personal Ensign Handicap, 25th August 2013
Trained by Bill Mott, Sire: Empire Maker. Dam: Delta Princess
Benjamin Leon Jr., who races under the name of Besilu Stables, immigrated to the United States from Cuba when he was 16 years old in 1961. He had two passions, which he shared in an interview with Ocala.com in 2011: “Since I was young, I’ve been fascinated by horses. I’d get in trouble for drawing pictures of horses in my history class. As long as I can remember, I’ve been passionate about horses and playing baseball.”
He pursued both. He was a world-class softball player, winning four national and world titles and was inducted into the National Softball Hall of Fame in 1988.
Leon, who owned and bred Paso Fino horses for nearly 30 years, waited another 19 years before buying his first Thoroughbred. By then, he and his family had established Leon Medical Centers, sold them, purchased them back, and re-sold them for hundreds of millions of dollars. Benjamin Leon III currently acts as CEO of Leon Medical Centers. The family, led by Benjamin Leon Sr., also founded clinics to help Cuban exiles.
Leon returned to his love of horses in a major way, buying the sales topper at three different sales in 2010 and 2011. Two were yearlings; the other was Royal Delta, whom he purchased for $8.5 million at the 2011 Keeneland November Sale.
“Everybody wants to be on the top of the mountain,” Says Leon. “Most people forget the fun is in the climb. I’m climbing right now and I’m having a lot of fun.”