Owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey, trainer Mike Maker, and jockey Florent Geroux all clinched repeat titles in their respective categories for the 2016 Kentucky Downs meeting that ended Sept. 15. This marks the fourth consecutive title at Kentucky Downs for the Ramseys.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey finished the season with six wins, triple their nearest competitors. Among their triumphs this summer were three lucrative stakes wins with Watchyourownbobber in the $400,000 More Than Ready Mile, Oscar Nominated in the $350,000 Exacta Systems Dueling Grounds Oaks, and Al's Gal in the $350,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon. The Ramseys are the all-time leading owner in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and have earned six Eclipse Awards for success nationwide (Outstanding Breeder twice and Outstanding Owner four times). The Ramseys also led all owners by earnings with $801,110.
"Like Muhammad Ali said, if you don't back it up, it's bragging," Ken Ramsey said. "But if you do it, different category."
Ramsey continued: "Mark Partridge (Ramsey's farm manager) called me a week or two before Saratoga (Race Course) was over and said, 'Are we going for the owner's title at Saratoga?' We actually could have sent up two more loads of horses. I said, 'No, we're starting on the campaign to win the owners' title at Kentucky Downs.'"
Six owners, Skychai Racing, the venerable partnership of Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, Lothenbach Stables, Glockenburg LLC, Patricia's Hope LLC, and Ashbrook Farm, also had multiple-win meets with two tallies each.
Maker notched eight wins at the stand, besting the meet-leading seven he had in 2015. The 47-year-old started nearly twice as many horses as any other trainer (35 to Joe Sharp's 18). He won five of the season's 12 stakes events, all with horses he purchased out of claiming races: Try Your Luck in the $200,000 Dueling Grounds Oaks, Oscar Nominated in the $350,000 Exacta Systems Dueling Grounds Derby, Watchyourownbobber in the $400,000 More Than Ready, Da Big Hoss in the $600,000 Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup and Al's Gal in the $350,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon. Maker also led the standings by earnings, with $1,469,336.
"It's a meet we point for," said Maker, whose stakes wins alone would have led the trainer standings. "It was a great meet even if we'd only won the stakes."
Christophe Clement and Rusty Arnold tied for second among trainers with three wins each. Also scoring multiple wins were Sharp, Ian Wilkes, Steve Asmussen, Pavel Vashchenko, and Larry Rivelli with two apiece.
Geroux earned his second local title with 12 wins and also led the standings by earnings with $1,767,773. Five of his wins came in stakes: the Exacta Systems Dueling Grounds Derby on Oscar Nominated, the Dueling Grounds Oaks on Try Your Luck, the Kentucky Turf Cup aboard Da Big Hoss, the Kentucky Downs Ladies' Sprint on Mississippi Delta and the Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon on Al's Gal. The 30-year-old Frenchman is 28-for-89 at Kentucky Downs over the past three years, good for an impressive 31.4% clip.
"It's a great meet to win," Geroux said. "You have to make sure you get off to a good start, and I was lucky enough to ride live horses right off the bat and secure the title. I just wish the meet was a little bit longer. It's a fun place to ride, especially when you have the horses. People like it, it's lots of money, and it looks like it's safe for the horses as well."
Brian Hernandez Jr. finished second among riders with seven wins, followed by Robby Albarado and Julien Leparoux with four each. A trio of riders, Flavien Prat, Corey Lanerie and Carlos Marquez Jr., had three wins apiece.