Kitten's Joy , the Ken and Sarah Ramsey-raced stallion who stands at their Ramsey Farm in Nicholasville, Ky., overcame the odds to emerge on top as North America's leading sire for 2013.
Despite being predominantly a turf sire, the son of El Prado who himself was champion turf horse was able to top Speightstown for leading sire honors as his offspring dominated the top grass races during the summer.
Overall, Kitten's Joy finished 2013 with earnings of $11,326,203, just edging WinStar Farm stallion Speightstown , whose progeny earned $11,255,181 last year.
Kitten's Joy was represented by 24 stakes winners who won 34 added-money races in 2013, with 11 graded stakes winners, both tops in their respective categories. The 12-year-old horse who will stand in 2014 for a fee of $100,000 is the sire of the winners of six grade I stakes and one group I event in Malaysia.
In addition to his top ranking on the general sire list, Kitten's Joy was the overwhelming leading sire of turf runners last year, with progeny earnings of $8.2 million on grass, far outpacing the $3.7 million in turf earnings by runner-up Giant's Causeway .
As has been well-documented, Kitten's Joy's success has been directly linked to the confidence his owners had in him when he retired to their farm in 2006 after he earned more than $2 million on the track. To support their new stallion, the Ramseys bred from 90 to 122 mares to Kitten's Joy, and as the number of other breeders have sought a piece of his success, his book has continued to expand, with 190 mares bred to him this year.
Kitten's Joy's big year was highlighted by an historic feat Aug. 17 when Big Blue Kitten, Admiral Kitten, and Real Solution (via disqualification) all won grade I stakes. Stephanie's Kitten and Kitten's Dumplings were the additional grade I winners for their sire last year. In addition to his stakes winners in the upper echelon of racing, Kitten's Joy had five 2-year-old stakes winners of 2013.
Kitten's Joy and other leading sires of 2013 will be profiled in the Jan. 11 issue of The Blood-Horse magazine.