Ramseys Looking to Have More Fun in Saturdayâ€™s $1 Million Claiming Crown
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL â€“ Owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey compete at the very highest level of the Sport of Kings, but they have hardly forgotten their roots in the claiming ranks. Although their names and horses are closely linked with major stakes throughout the calendar year, the Ramseys have continued to thoroughly enjoy playing the claiming game.
â€œI like the competition. I just like to win,â€ said Ken Ramsey, who, along with his wife, has been honored three times with an Eclipse Award as North Americaâ€™s outstanding owners and once for outstanding breeders. â€œI almost have as much fun leading my claimers into the winnerâ€™s circle as my stakes horses.â€
No one has had more fun than the Ramseys when it comes to the Claiming Crown, the marquee event for Thoroughbred racingâ€™s most enduring performers.
The Artemus, Ky. natives have visited the winnerâ€™s circle with a record 12 victors of Claiming Crown stakes, and theyâ€™ll be looking to have more fun Saturday at Gulfstream Park, where the eight-race $1 million Claiming Crown will highlight Opening Day of the 2014-2015 Championship Meet. The Ramseys will be represented by six horses in three of the eight stakes.
â€œWeâ€™re a little light this year,â€ said Ken Ramsey, whose annual goal is to have at least one horse in all eight races.
Although they may be lacking in quantity, the Ramseys will be represented by quality. Eriugena, a 4-year-old gelding who is coming off a first and a second in optional claiming allowances in Kentucky, will carry the Ramseysâ€™ familiar white and red colors in the featured $200,000 Jewel, a 1 1/8-mile event for horses that raced for a claiming price of $35,000 or less since Jan. 1, 2013. The Ramseys have entered three horses in the $125,000 Emerald, a 1 1/16-mile turf event for horses that have started for a claiming price of $25,000 or less: Saylerâ€™s Creek, who is undefeated in two starts over the Gulfstream turf; Saffron Hall, who is coming off a pair of allowance victories in Kentucky; and Longhunter, a three-time winner over the Gulfstream green.
St. Borealis, a recent winner at Churchill Downs in her first start since being claimed, and Scenario Analysis will represent the Ramseys in the $125,000 Tiara, a 1 1/16-mile turf event for fillies and mares that raced for a claiming price of $25,000 or less.
All six runners are trained by Mike Maker, who has saddled a record 12 Claiming Crown winners.
â€œI talked to Maker and he thinks we have a big shot to win two, which probably means I wonâ€™t get shut out. Iâ€™m going to predict weâ€™ll win one,â€ said Ramsey, who visited the Gulfstream winnerâ€™s circle with two Claiming Crown winners last year and a record four in 2012..
â€œWe have a good shot at winning in the Emerald. Weâ€™ve got a three-horse entry. Weâ€™ve got Saylerâ€™s Creek, he could win it; Saffron Hall, he could win it; and weâ€™ve got a horse that hasnâ€™t run since April (Longhunter); I donâ€™t know if Mike got him cranked up 100-percent or not. Iâ€™d say Saffron Hall and Saylerâ€™s Creek will be tough to beat,â€ Ramsey said. â€œIn the big race that we won and surprised everybody a couple years ago with a horse that paid 30-something dollars (Parentâ€™s Honor in 2012), weâ€™ve got a real hard-knocker called Eriugena. If heâ€™s on his game, he may be tough.â€
Ramsey hopes to be able to share a victory with some Gulfstream fans while leading a horse into the winnerâ€™s circle Saturday.
â€œThe fans love it. I try to interact with the fans. I think itâ€™s doing a service to the racing industry, because we always have somebody helps up bring them in. I have a waiting list of people down in Florida. People enjoy that,â€ Ramsey said. â€œIâ€™ll tell you, my picture is in more living rooms or dens or family rooms than any other owner in the country. Every time I win, itâ€™s me and two or three more leading the horse in.â€
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