OCEANPORT – Ben Perkins, Sr., a fixture as a trainer on the New Jersey Thoroughbred racing circuit since 1958 whose 854 career winners included 1981 Haskell Invitational winner Five Star Flight, has passed away at the age of 89, his family announced today.
Funeral services are pending.
Perkins, Sr. took out his trainer’s license in 1958 and trained at Garden State Park, Atlantic City Race Course, the Meadowlands and Monmouth Park before his retirement in 1999. He trained 11 graded stakes winners, with Five Star Flight winning the 1981 Haskell by five lengths over heavily-favored Lord Avie. Conveyor was his other Grade 1 winner, capturing the 1995 Meadowlands Cup.
His horses earned more than $13 million overall.
Monmouth Park honored Perkins, Sr., with the Virgil “Buddy” Raines Distinguished Achievement Award, the track’s most prestigious honor, in 2007.
He won his first race at Monmouth Park in 1958.
Following his retirement from training he set up and managed several racing partnerships and stables well into his 80s.
Perkins, Sr., is survived by his wife, Geraldine; son Ben Perkins, Jr.; daughter Pinky, four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.