From his winter base in Florida in the first days of January, owner Ken Ramsey mulled over the final figures from his Thoroughbred operation in 2013.
"We won 26% of our starts throughout the year," Ramsey said. "We call that PDG. Pretty damn good."
Without disagreeing with Ramsey’s assessment, it should be noted that many of the year’s top owners hovered around the same percentage. But there is one number that sets Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s season apart from all others—$12,231,045, their total purse earnings for 2013.
That was a North American record, blasting out of the water the previous mark of $11.1 million earned by Stronach Stables in 2000, and that is what makes the Ramseys favorites to collect the Eclipse Award for owner over the other two finalists, Midwest Thoroughbreds and Juddmonte Farms.
Winners in the 17 horse and human categories will be announced at the 43rd annual Eclipse Awards dinner and ceremony Jan. 18 at Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino in Hallandale Beach, Fla. The ceremony will air live on HRTV.
The Ramseys won 230 races from 880 starts in 2013, and they won when it counted most. Although they maintain a significant number of claiming horses, the Ramseys succeeded on the highest end, accumulating 43 stakes victories in 2013, 17 of those graded. Thanks mostly to their prepotent sireKitten's Joy , the Ramseys enjoyed grade I victories last year from Big Blue Kitten (2), Admiral Kitten, Kitten’s Dumplings, Real Solution (Arlington Million),We Miss Artie , and Stephanie's Kitten.
The Ramseys won nine race meet titles on the season, and by any examination of the numbers their runners were pretty damn good.
Midwest Thoroughbreds led North American-based owners with 401 victories and 1,479 starts in 2013. Midwest tallied $7.2 million in purse earnings on the year, led by a quartet of two-time stakes winners: Managed Account, Signsealndeliver, The Pizza Man, and Work All Week.
The third Eclipse finalist as owner is Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms, which enjoyed another in a long line of outstanding seasons. Juddmonte won 26 races from 100 North American starts last year and collected purse earnings of $3.8 million.
Eleven of those 26 victories came in added-money contests, with 10 of those wins coming in graded stakes company. A pair of fillies led the way for Juddomnte in 2013. Emollient won the American Oaks, the Juddmonte Spinster, and the Central Bank Ashland stakes, all grade I stakes. Her stablemate Close Hatches took home the honors in the Cotillion Stakes (gr. I), Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I), and Gazelle Stakes (gr. II).