Prolific owner-breeder Ken Ramsey is a familiar figure in the
Gulfstream Park winner’s circle these days as he leads each of his
winners into the enclosure to get their picture taken when he is in
town, most recently Wednesday afternoon. He hopes do the same with he
and his wife Sarah’s 3-year-old homebred colt Charming Kitten after
Saturday’s second running of the $100,000 Kitten’s Joy Stakes.
The Ramseys are having a strong meet as the mid-point of the season
approaches and currently lead the owners’ standings with 20 victories,
10 more than 2011-12 meet leader Frank Calabrese. The Ramseys have won
numerous meet titles at home in Kentucky at Churchill Downs and
“We’ll have to stay on top of it if we want to win this title,” says
Ramsey. “We won it in 2009 and Frank Calabrese has won it the last
three years.” The Ramseys currently have horses with six different
trainers in South Florida this winter – Mike Maker, Wesley Ward, Chad
Brown, Wayne Catalano, Christophe Clement and Todd Pletcher
The Ramseys were voted Eclipse Award owner in 2004 when buoyed by
the accomplishments of Eclipse Award turf champion Kitten’s Joy and
Dubai World Cup (G1) winner Roses in May, both trained by Dale Romans.
They chose to retain and stand Kitten’s Joy at their Ramsey Farm near
Lexington, Ky. while selling Roses in May to stand in Japan.
The choice to keep Kitten’s Joy has proven to be a tremendous
success story with his progeny earnings hitting $6.8 million in 2011 and
their homebred filly Stephanie’s Kitten leading the way after winning
the Alcibiades Stakes (G1) at Keeneland and $1 million Breeders’ Cup
Juvenile Fillies (G2) at Churchill Downs. Kitten’s Joy came back with
another productive year in 2012 as his offspring earned $6.5 million.
“He had 15 stakes winners and 31 stakes runners last year, He didn’t
have the Grade 1 winner like he did in 2011 with Stephanie’s Kitten,
but it was another solid year.” said Ramsey, who can recite statistics
on his sprawling operations that includes horses in training in several
states at a time, his own sizable broodmare band and of course, Kitten’s
Joy and his matings.
“He was bred to 214 mares last year (60 of his own) and we expect
he’ll have somewhere around 190 foals this spring. We turned down
another 143 mares. He’ll breed to somewhat fewer mares this year as the
quality of his book is getting stronger. Unfortunately, one of the mares
was Hollywood Wildcat who died in foal.” The 1993 Eclipse Champion
3-year-old filly died June 23 from complications of cancer.
Kitten’s Joy stood for a $50,000 fee in 2012 and remains the same in 2013 for those that can get to him.
The Ramseys bred Kitten’s Joy in Kentucky. The flashy chestnut by El
Prado out of Kitten’s First, by Lear Fan earned one of his first major
victories at Gulfstream early in 2004 when he won the $100,000 Palm
Beach Stakes (G3). After a fifth-place career as a 2-year-old in 2003
debut sprinting on dirt at Saratoga in 2003, he would go on to finish
one-two in all 13 of his starts thereafter with nine wins and four
In addition to Stephanie’s Kitten, the most accomplished offspring
have included Dean’s Kitten, winner of the Lane’s End Stakes (G2) at
Keeneland, Del Mar Derby (G2) winner Banned, Csaba, Queen’splatekitten,
Politcallycorrect and Big Blue Kitten.