LEXINGTON, Ky. (December 3, 2015) – Powered by victories from homebreds Stephanie’s Kitten and Big Blue Kitten, both by Kitten’s Joy, Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey have won the fifth annual John Deere Award as outstanding breeders of the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series and the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.
This is the second John Deere Award for the Ramseys, who won the inaugural award in 2011.
The John Deere Award, presented by Breeders’ Cup Limited and NTRA Advantage, emphasizes the contributions of breeders to the Breeders’ Cup program. The industry’s breeders provide funding for the purses for the World Championships through the annual nominations of foals and stallions.
NTRA Advantage and John Deere will award a John Deere TS Gator Utility Vehicle to the Ramseys.
The John Deere award winner is determined by the breeder who received the highest number of points based upon graded/group first-place finishes in the 78 Breeders’ Cup Challenge races and the 13 Breeders’ Cup World Championships races held this year, as follows:
Grade/Group I 10
Grade/Group II 6
Grade/Group III 4
The Ramseys, based in Nicholasville, Ky., earned 40 points in Breeders’ Cup Challenge and World Championships races, finishing six points ahead of Coolmore with 34 points. Clarkland Farm finished third with 30 points.
Leading the way for the Ramseys was the 6-year-old mare Stephanie’s Kitten, by Kitten’s Joy out of the Catienus mare Unfold the Rose. Stephanie’s Kitten won two grade one races for a total of 20 points in capturing the Flower Bowl Invitational, a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race held at Belmont Park on October 3, and the 1 3/16 mile, $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Keeneland, where she scored at 1 ¼ length victory. Big Blue Kitten, a 7-year-old ridgling sired by Kitten’s Joy out of Spent Gold by Unaccounted For, won two grade one Breeders’ Cup Challenge races this year, the United Nations Stakes at Monmouth Park on July 5 and the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont Park on September 26.
Both Stephanie’s Kitten and Big Blue Kitten were bred in Kentucky by the Ramseys, and both were trained this year by Chad Brown. Stephanie’s Kitten’s victory in the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf helped propel the Ramseys to their first John Deere Award.
“We congratulate Ken and Sarah Ramsey on becoming the first two-time winners of the John Deere Award,” said Craig Fravel, Breeders’ Cup President and CEO. “The performances of both Stephanie’s Kitten and Big Blue Kitten in the World Championships and in the Challenge series are a testament to the Ramseys’ commitment to excellence in both breeding and racing over the years.
“We also thank John Deere for their commitment as a Breeders’ Cup partner, and along with NTRA Advantage, their recognition of the significant contribution of the breeders to the Breeders’ Cup program through this award.”
“It’s quite a feat to do it again,” said Ken Ramsey, who along with his wife Sarah, have won Eclipse Award for Outstanding Breeder the past two years. “It validates our program because we are not a big breeder. To pull this off with one stallion means I’m super lucky, but to do it twice, it makes me think we’re doing something right, considering the competition.”
“We’re extremely pleased to recognize Ken and Sarah Ramsey as Outstanding Breeders for the John Deere Award,” said Tom Elliott, product marketing manager, John Deere. “Their dedication to excellence in breeding is unsurpassed and we congratulate them on winning this award.”
Coolmore finished second in the John Deere competition with 34 points off the strength of Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) winner Found (IRE) and three Breeders’ Cup Challenge triumphs in Europe: Minding (IRE) in the Moyglare Stud Stakes (G1) at The Curragh, Johannes Vermeer (IRE) in the Willis Champion Juvenile Stakes (G3) at Leopardstown and Ballydoyle (IRE) in the Prix Marcel Boussac (G1) at Longchamp.
Clarkland Farm, finishing third with 30 points, was led by champion mare Beholder, who won three Breeders’ Cup Challenge races this year highlighted by her dominating performance against males in the Pacific Classic (G1), which came in between victories against fillies and mares in the Clement Hirsch (G1) at Del Mar and the Zenyatta Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita Park.