Trainer Wesley A. Ward reached the 1,000 mark by number of winners when he sent out Cozy Kitten to win the $50,000 Franklin-Simpson Mile Stakes at Kentucky Downs Sept. 17.
The 3-year-old gelding, a homebred for Ken and Sarah Ramsey, captured the turf event as the 2-1 favorite by three-quarters of a length in 1:40.70. By the Ramsey’s stallion Kitten's Joy , Cozy Kitten is out of the Cozzene mare Caterette. Julio Garcia was the winning jockey.
Ward, 43, won the Eclipse Award as the nation's top apprentice jockey of 1984 before retiring as a rider in 1989. He assisted his father, trainer Dennis Ward, for a couple of years before striking out on his own in 1991.
The Washington state native has succeeded with 19% of his lifetime starters and has won 54 stakes. His trainees have earned more than $25.2 million, and he is coming off his best year in 2010.
In June 2009, Ward became the first American trainer to win at the prestigious Royal Ascot meet in England when 2-year-old colt Strike the Tiger captured the Windsor Castle Stakes. On the very next day, 2-year old filly Jealous Again, whom he also owned in a partnership, won the Queen Mary Stakes (Eng-II).
Ward's first stakes win came in the 1994 Cinema Handicap (gr. IIIT)) at Hollywood Park with Unfinished Symph, who went on to finish third in the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) that year at Churchill Downs. Unfinished Symph also won the San Francisco Mile (gr. IIT) and Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IIT) in 1995.
He trained Men's Exclusive, a California-bred gelding who earned more than $1.4 million, including a win in the Palos Verdes Handicap (gr. II) at age 8 in 2001.