Ken Ramsey wears his humble roots as boldly as he does his heart on his sleeve. Though he jokingly refers to himself and wife Sarah as "that little country couple from Artemus," the two became racing royalty in 2013 by lording over every realm of the sport.
The Ramseys' red and white colors served as Thoroughbred racing's tapestry the past year as they left no race meet untouched by their depth while simultaneously taking command of the breeding industry.
Such across-the-board power earned the Ramseys two more runaway victories Saturday night as they swept the Eclipse Awards for outstanding owner and outstanding breeder during the 43rd annual ceremony at Gulfstream Park.
The Ramseys had previously won the Eclipse Award for outstanding owner in 2004 and 2011. What the Nicholasville-based couple achieved in 2013, however, will likely not be rivaled by even powerhouse operations.
On the owners side, the Ramseys led the nation in earnings ($12,231,045), stakes wins (43) and graded stakes victories (17) while taking eight meet titles. Fueled by offspring of their homebred stallion Kitten's Joy, the Ramseys also topped the individual breeders list in North America for 2013 with $12,175,837 in earnings.
Aptly nicknamed "The Franchise," Kitten's Joy himself led the North American general sire list with more than $11.3 million in progeny earnings. The defining day for both the Ramseys and Kitten's Joy came last August when the couple won three Grade I races, including the Arlington Million, within two hours of each other, all with homebred offspring of their stallion.
"Last year was without a doubt the best year we've ever had," Ken Ramsey said. "It stuns me when I sit back and look at the stats and ... it kind of blows your mind. Kitten's Joy is kind of like the franchise, but anyone would tell you that in order to have a franchise, you have to have a bunch of team players. And we didn't really have a single huge horse, it was kind of across the board."
Javier Castellano, who guided many Ramsey mounts to victory in 2013, bested Gary Stevens and Joel Rosario to capture his first Eclipse Award for outstanding jockey following a year in which he broke the North American single-season mark for earnings with $26,213,507.
Todd Pletcher collected the Eclipse Award for outstanding trainer for a record sixth time in a career destined for the Hall of Fame as he led the nation in earnings, stakes wins and graded stakes triumphs.
Victor Carrasco was named outstanding apprentice Jockey.
Alicia Wincze Hughes: (859) 231-1676. Blog: horseracing.bloginky.com. Twitter: @horseracinghl.