Keeneland presents American Graded Stakes Standings: Homebred Success

by | 02.09.2012 | 12:53pm

Man, did I screw up. I'd like to be able to blame a research assistant or editor for some omissions and errors in the following recap of homebreeding success in our weekly feature, American Graded Stakes Standings, but it's all on me.

Apologies to readers and to those breeders whose outstanding success in 2011 was reported incorrectly.  Here are the corrections:

Ken and Sarah Ramsey's colors were carried by four homebred 2011 American Graded Stakes winners to lead North America in that category (not three as reported). Add Stephanie's Kitten  – another offspring of Kitten's Joy – to the list that included Big Blue Kitten, Holiday for Kitten, and Derby Kitten. I'll be consuming cat food for a week as punishment for the error.

George Strawbridge's Augustin Stables had three homebred AGS winners (not two as reported): Smart Bid, Dynamic Holiday, and Emerald Beech (Quantum Miss was erroneously credited to Strawbridge). Augustin and the E. Paul Robsham Stables ranked second behind the Ramseys.

Three owner/breeders were omitted from the list of operations with two homebred AGS winners: Brereton C. Jones (Believe You Can, Silver Reunion); B. Wayne Hughes' Spendthrift Farm (Malibu Pier, Worth Repeating); and Tommy Simons Vinery/Grapestock (Regally Ready, Western Aristocrat).

Finally, the late Edward B. Evans should be credited as breeder and his estate as owner of Buster's Ready (not Quiet Giant) as one of two homebred stakes winners he produced.

So much of horse racing and breeding focuses on the operations that breed to sell Thoroughbreds at yearling or 2-year-old sales or the owners who stock their stables by attending these auctions.

But there is also that very important and often traditional segment of the industry that breeds some, most or all of its horses to race in their colors. Over time, these stables have been populated by those we look upon fondly as horse racing's sportsmen – names like Janney, Mellon, Phipps, Strawbridge, Vanderbilt, and Whitney come to mind – but just as often they are dynamic individuals who enjoy the process of building a broodmare band, planning the matings, raising the foals, and watching them carry their silks at the racetrack. The latter category includes people who made a major impact on the breed in recent decades.

In 2011, scanning the list of owners that won American Graded Stakes races with stock they bred, there is a blend of traditional operations and relative newcomers to Thoroughbred racing and breeding.

There were only two operations that produced three individual homebred American Graded Stakes winners in 2011: E. Paul Robsham Stables and Ken and Sarah Ramsey, both of which are “first generation” Thoroughbred operations.

Joyce Robsham has carried on with the stable following the death of her husband in 2004, and last year was a sensational one for the small operation, which won 25 races from 81 starts for earnings of $1,584,851.  Awesome Maria, R Heat Lightning and Traveling Man all were victorious in American Graded Stakes.

The Ramseys have a far bigger operation at their Central Kentucky farm, where they have produced both quantity and quality. From 490 starts, they enjoyed 114 wins for earnings of $4,890,581.  Their three AGS winners, Big Blue Kitten, Holiday for Kitten, and Derby Kitten – as you might have guessed – all were sired by their red-hot, young stallion, Kitten's Joy.

Among the 10 operations that each had two homebred AGS winners, nine have been nurturing their bloodlines for decades: George Strawbridge's Augustin Stable (Emerald Beach, Quantum Miss);  Adele Dilschneider (Apart, Grassy in partnership with Claiborne Farm); Donald Dizney (First Dude, Apriority); the late Edward P. Evans (Quiet Giant, Dreamy Kid); Stuart Janney (Air Support, Hit It Rich); Prince Khalid's Juddmonte Farms (Aviate, Deluxe); Charlotte Weber's Live Oak Stud (Brilliant Speed, Unbridled Humor); the late Carl Lizza's Nustar Breeding/Flying Zee Stable (Street Game, Pure Gossip); and Luiz Fernando Dannemann' Brazilian farm Coudelaria Jessica (Celtic Princess, Great Hot).

The only “newcomer” the this list is Arnold Zetcher, who struck Graded Stakes lightning with two homebreds in 2011: Midnight Interlude and Always a Princess.

Breeding to race does not provide the instant gratification one can find by shopping at the sales of 2-year-olds in training or yearlings. But there is added satisfaction of seeing a product that you bred and raised rise to the occasion of the highest level of competition the sport offers.

  • Patti Davis


    The Ramseys also had G1 Breeders’ Cup filly Juvenile Turf winner, Stephanie’s Kitten, last year. I think you left her off the list of their G1 winners sired by Kitten’s Joy.

  • Patti Davis

    Ooops. Sorry. Self-correction here: Stephanie’s Kitten won the G2 (not G1) BC Juv Fillies Turf. My bad. Guess when I think “Breeders’ Cup” I automatically assume “G1” and I ought to know better.

    As you were, gentlemen.

  • Butchcassidy8504

    How can you forget Stephanie’s Kitten?

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