Owner-breeder Sarah Ramsey dies at 83 | Bloodstock News
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Ken and Sarah Ramsey: an extraordinarily successful team
By Eric Mitchell of Bloodhorse
Sarah Kathern Ramsey, longtime partner of Ken Ramsey and a racing and breeding enthusiast, died peacefully on May 29 at her home in Ramsey Farm, surrounded by her family. She was 83 years old.
Sarah and Ken Ramsey have enjoyed extraordinary success together since purchasing the farm near Nicholasville, Ky., in 1994. At first, they raced their horses separately with individualized silks. Sarah Ramsey’s first horse was Kitten’s First, the name of which was derived from Ken’s nickname for his wife.
When they realized they would have earned the title of first owner at Churchill Downs if they had raced their horses together, the merger was done quickly and they became a fixture on the Kentucky circuit.
Through hard work, a commitment to quality, and crippling skills gained through extensive research they compiled together, they have propelled their modest operation from beginning to peak.
The Rameys won their first Eclipse title as an Outstanding Owner in 2004 when their Kitten’s Joy earned six graded entries, including Secretariat entries and Joe Hirsch Turf Classic invitational entries; and, their runner for the Roses in May won three graded stakes, including the Whitney Handicap.
Kitten’s Joy will be named Eclipse champion turf male the same year. They would be back on the Eclipse Prize podium as an Outstanding Owner and Outstanding Breeder in 2013-14.
The eventual success as a stallion of Kitten’s Joy, who was delivered by Kitten’s First caesarean section, would be a major theme in other notable feats they accomplished together. In 2013, they became the only registered North American owners to earn three Tier 1 entries in a single day, and all were homebred by Kitten’s Joy – Big Blue Kitten, admiral’s kitten and real solution.
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The real solution (left) was a two-time Grade 1 winner for the Ramseys
In 2017, the Ramseys celebrated their 100th victory as owners when Granny’s Kitten won the Colonel ER Bradley Handicap.
Sarah Ramsey grew up in Artemus, Kentucky, a small community along the Cumberland River outside of Barbourville, where she met and married Ken after serving in the United States Navy. They had four children, Kelly, Jeff, Jill and Scott.
They pursued a variety of endeavors to make a living for themselves and still together. After starting and running a successful real estate business in central Kentucky, they discovered the growing cell phone market in the late 1980s and both applied to a federal lottery to win a franchise license. Sarah won the franchise for Gainesville, Georgia, and Ken bought a minority stake in others. They would end up selling their mobile phone franchise for $39 million.
“We both gamble,” Sarah Ramsey told the Courier-Journal in October 2013. “Estate agent, cell phone towers, stock market, horse gamblers.”
Tragically, Sarah Ramsey suffered a stroke in 2007.
In that same Courier-Journal article, Jeff Ramsey noted that while his father was often in the spotlight with his witty, colorful and sometimes outrageous personality, his mother was the backbone of the family operation.
“For years she was my father’s sounding board for do’s and don’ts,” he told the Courier-Journal. “She’s always kept him grounded and stable, and she does that in different ways. I don’t know what he would do without her.”
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FIRST PUBLICATION AT 11:40 AM, MAY 31, 2022