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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Owner Ken Ramsey takes aim at the Claiming Crown

Ken Ramsey doesn’t do anything halfway. Along with his wife, Sarah, the affable owner has pretty much done it all – from winning dozens of owners’ titles at tracks like Churchill Downs, Saratoga and Keeneland to the Eclipse Award as outstanding owner to winning at the Breeders’ Cup and Dubai World Cup. The Ramseys also stand leading stallion Kitten’s Joy, a homebred who won the Eclipse Award as outstanding male turf horse, and recently were honored with the National Owner of the Year and National Breeder of the Year award from the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA).

So what’s up next?

Now Ramsey has his sights set on another accomplishment – having a starter in all seven races that comprise the $850,000 Claiming Crown on December 1 at Gulfstream Park. The Ramseys have already enjoyed considerable success in the Claiming Crown in the past, with six winners from nine starters, but in typical Ramsey fashion, he’s not looking just to have a starter in all seven races offering big money for claiming horses. He wants to win all seven.

“It’s a challenge,” said Ramsey during a recent online video interview with Tom LaMarra of The Blood-Horse (click here to view the full video). “I’m looking forward to going to Florida on opening day at Gulfstream.

“Mike Maker is my chief claiming guy,” Ramsey continued. “We claimed about 12 or 13 horses at Saratoga and we have horses for five of the seven races. We are pounding the Daily Racing Form everyday looking for ones for the other two races, so we are good to go. Trust us; we are going to come up with a horse for all seven of them. We are supporting this 100%.”

Ramsey has won his fair share of rich purses and Grade 1 races, but he appreciates the opportunity to run for six-figure purses with claiming level horses.

“It’s something to look forward to,” he said. “I’m flying down to try to win and hopefully leading them in (the winner’s circle).”

The total purses for the Claiming Crown have been boosted to $850,000 this year, with the Claiming Crown Jewel at 1 1/8 miles offering a pot of $200,000.

“The $200,000 purse is more than the minimum for a Grade 2, and the minimum $100,000 (for the other Claiming Crown races) is the same as the minimum on a Grade 3,” said Ramsey.

The Claiming Crown is set for opening day, December 1, at the Florida track. Horsemen are reminded that the deadline for nominated trainers to nominate a horse to the event is November 9 at a fee of 0.2% of the race purse. Trainers who did not become eligible by making the $100 trainer nomination payment by August 31 can still make a supplemental nomination by November 28 for 5.0% of the race purse. For more information, race conditions and nomination forms, visit www.claimingcrown.com.

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