Ramseys win three to tie Churchill Downs' meet record
Ken and Sarah Ramsey won three races at Churchill Downs on Sunday to equal A.J. Foyt III's 30-year-old record for most wins during a meet at the Louisville racetrack.
The Nicholasville couple — Churchill Downs' all-time leading owners in races won with 359 — tied the mark with their 27th win of the meet on the 34th day of the 38-day Spring Meet. Favored Smittenwithkitten, a 3-year-old daughter of the Ramseys' productive stallion Kitten's Joy, won the seventh race by 1½ lengths. Foyt's record came during a unique 93-day Spring/Summer Meet in 1983.
Earlier Sunday, the Ramseys won the second race with 3-year-old colt Gamekeeper ($2.40) and the third with 4-year-old filly Blues and Silvers ($3.60). They had a chance to break the record in the 10th race but Auston Got Even finished fourth.
"It's an honor to tie the record, but that's kind of like running second and that's what I call the first loser," Ken Ramsey, 77, said. "We still don't hold the record. We're co-holders and 'co' is not in my vocabulary. I think we'll probably end up with at least 30 based on my calculations. We got 15 the first half of the meet and we're trying to get 15 more the last half of the meet."
The Spring Meet ends June 30 and the Ramseys have 12 horses entered in nine races on Thursday and Friday. The final two cards on Saturday and Sunday have yet to be drawn.
"I'm pretty sure we're going to break the record," Ramsey said. "I worked for about two hours this morning going through all the horses I've got to see who fits in the races and we've got six horses running on Friday night. I'm pretty sure we're going to break it on Thursday or Friday. I'm not bragging, but I know the horses I've got."
Duke, 44, earns 1st PGA win in playoff
Ken Duke needed 187 starts on the PGA Tour to get his first win, securing it at a tournament that is building a reputation for such breakthroughs. The 44-year-old journeyman made a 2½ foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole Sunday to beat Chris Stroud at the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Conn. Stroud, who also was looking for his first title, had chipped in from 51 feet on the 18th hole, to get to 12-under par and force the playoff.
But Duke made the better approach shot on the second extra hole, bouncing his ball in front of the flag and rolling it close.
"Yeah, it's been a long time," said Duke, who turned pro in 1994." I've been on the Canadian tour, the mini tours, Asian Tour, South American Tour, all of them; Web.com, and it's just great to be a part of this big family on the PGA Tour."
Duke, who came in ranked 144th in the world, is the sixth golfer in eight years to get his first PGA Tour win here, joining J.J. Henry (2006), Hunter Mahan (2007), Bubba Watson (2010), Fredrik Jacobsen (2011) and Marc Leishman last year.
Graham DeLaet finished a stroke back in third place with a 269. Watson finished fourth, two shots behind, after making a six on the par-3 16th hole.
"You gotta believe in yourself in everything you do," Duke said. "That's why those guys at the top are winning week in, week out because they believe they can do it. It's kind of one of those things once you finally do it it might come easier the next time. That's kind of the way I feel."
Duke wouldn't have been in position to win at all had luck not intervened on the 10th hole, when his ball ricocheted off a tree and onto the green to about 5 feet from the pin, allowing him to make birdie.
After a 17-foot birdie putt on the next hole, he made a 45-footer on the 13th hole, a shot that looked as though it might go past the hole to the right, before falling in.
■ Ernie Els won the BMW International Open in Munich by one shot for his 28th European Tour title. He closed with a third straight 3-under 69 to finish at 18-under 270 on the Eichenried Golf Club course. Els was in front after the first and second rounds and entered the last day as part of a three-way lead.
Thomas Bjorn shot a 69 and finished a stroke back. Alexander Levy had a 71 and was another stroke off the pace for his best result.
Els is a two-time winner at both the U.S. Open and British Open. He is the first South African to win the BMW International in the competition's 25th edition.
"I'm a very young 43-year-old. There's not a younger 43-year-old, I promise," Els joked.
"I've tried a long time to win this golf tournament. I really had it going and then I made it tough for myself again," he added, referring to his bogey on the 11th hole.
■ Craig Stadler birdied four of the first six holes, then hung on to win the Encompass Championship by one stroke over Fred Couples by sinking a par-saving 12-foot putt on the final hole at Glenview, Ill. Stadler's eight years and almost nine months between victories is the longest stretch in Champions Tour history. J.C. Snead had gone almost seven years between titles from 1995 to 2002.
"When's the last time I had anything to win a golf tournament?" Stadler said. "It was a while ago. So be it. I missed every putt on the back nine and finally made one that counted."
■ Inbee Park is making a habit of winning LPGA Tour playoffs. The world No. 1 sank a 4-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole against So Yeon Ryu, capping her final-round rally and winning the LPGA NW Arkansas Championship at Rogers, Ark.
The victory was the second straight win in a playoff for Park, who won the LPGA Championship two weeks ago, and the fifth of the year for the South Korean star. She has seven wins in her last 23 starts.
Hinchcliffe extends Andretti's streak to 4
Andretti Autosport has long been the team to beat at Iowa Speedway. On Sunday, James Hinchcliffe put an exclamation point on Andretti's dominance there with perhaps the best race of his career.
Hinchcliffe cruised to victory in the IndyCar Series race on Sunday at Newton, Iowa, leading all but 24 of 250 laps. He became the first three-time winner this season and gave Andretti Autosport its fourth consecutive victory at Iowa's oval.
Ryan Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe's teammate, battled back from last place to finish second. He was followed by Tony Kanaan, Ed Carpenter and Graham Rahal.
Legends win with walk-off home run
Michael Antonio led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a home run, giving the Lexington Legends a come-from-behind 4-3 victory against the Savannah Sand Gnats Sunday afternoon at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.
The Legends trailed 3-1 going into the bottom of the eighth inning. Terrance Gore drew a leadoff walk and Raul Mondesi followed with a bunt single. Mark Threlkeld sacrificed the runners to second and third. Mark Donato's sacrifice fly scored Gore and Bubba Starling's single to left field brought Mondesi home with the tying run.
Matt Murray (1-0) got the win in relief for Lexington.
The Legends took three out of four in the series, and to start the second half South Atlantic League season with a 3-1 record.
The last word
Tampa Bay Rays Manager Joe Maddon has no shortage of confidence in Jake McGee and Joel Peralta — or the quality of New York City's salsa. A day after his key relievers had had a rough outing that cost them the game against the Yankees, Maddon met with them in the clubhouse over a snack to explain that he still trusted them in tough situations. On Sunday he showed it, calling on McGee and Peralta to hold a two-run lead and they did it. Maddon said:
"I'm a big chips and salsa man, and there was some excellent chips and salsa. I wanted to talk to Jake and Joel. So I got a little bucket of salsa, a little bucket of chips and I sat down with both of them. It was a good moment to just exchange thoughts, and I wanted them to know how much I believe in them, because that was a tough game for those guys."