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. Funeral services are pending.
Perkins, Sr. took out his trainer's license in 1958, the same year he recorded his first career victory at Monmouth Park. He also trained at Garden State Park, Atlantic City Race Course and the Meadowlands before his retirement in 1999. Following his retirement from training, he set up and managed several racing partnerships and stables well into his 80s.
He trained 11 graded stakes winners, with Five Star Flight winning the 1981 Haskell by five lengths over heavily-favored Lord Avie. With career earnings over $13 million, Perkins Sr. also was responsible for Grade I winner Conveyor, who captured the 1995 Meadowlands Cup.
Monmouth Park honored Perkins, Sr., with the track's prestigious Virgil “Buddy” Raines Distinguished Achievement Award in 2007.
Perkins, Sr., is survived by his wife, Geraldine; son Ben Perkins, Jr.; daughter Pinky, four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.