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Ramseys Selling to Reduce Herd to a 'Manageable Number'

Ken and Sarah Ramsey sold 94 horses this week for $1,659,300.

Mark Partridge at the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale

Mark Partridge at the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale

Anne M. Eberhardt

Ramsey Farm had a busy day Nov. 18 during the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale, putting through the ring 15% of the horses offered during the sale's ninth session. Overall, Ken and Sarah Ramsey's breeding operation sold 94 horses during three days of selling for $1,659,300.

While the Ramseys have regularly sold some stock during the fall mixed sales, the higher concentration this year is due to a resizing of the family-owned breeding and racing operation, according to farm manager Mark Partridge.

"Mr. Ramsey doesn't really want it to be a business anymore. He wants it to be a hobby," Partridge said after the last horse sold Nov. 18. "He is keeping about a half a dozen nice mares, and we still have seven yearlings on the farm and eight weanlings. He still wants to have a racing string, but he has about 40 horses in training, and he doesn't want that many so it will wind down to 10 or 12."

The Ramseys bought their first Thoroughbreds in the late 1970s and raced as a hobby in the early 1980s. They bought 377 acres that was formerly Almahurst Farm near Nicholasville, Ky., in September 1994 from Jack Baugh and renamed it Ramsey Farm in 1995. Over the years they acquired additional land that increased the farm to 1,215 acres by 2003.

Partridge said about three or four years ago the Ramseys' horse population of breeding and racing stock grew to 754 horses.

"Even though you've seen a lot of horses in the sale today, we've been culling the herd for years. They just haven't been as noticeable because they blended in. This year, we had about 50 horses end up on the same day so it was more noticeable," Partridge said.

Ramsey, who is 86, is committed to getting his herd down to a more manageable number.

"Really, he likes the racing best. He likes the action," Partridge said. "He'll still go to a 2-year-old in training sale and buy a couple of horses he can send straight to the trainer."

The Ramseys' top sellers at Keeneland include a stakes winner by Liaison  named Moonlight Romance who sold for $115,000 in foal to Distorted Humor  to SF-Newgate, and a $115,000 weanling colt by first-crop weanling sire and Longines Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) winner Vino Rosso  out of the stakes winner Deanaallen'skitten (Kitten's Joy ).

The last horse through the ring Nov. 18 was graded-placed stakes winner Don Juan Kitten, who won the James W. Murphy Stakes on the grass at Pimlico Race Course and was second in the Saranac Stakes (G3T) at Saratoga Race Course last year. The 4-year-old son of Kitten's Joy out of the Not For Love winner Romance Project sold for $8,000 to Charles and David Yochum, who will stand the horse at stud in Texas. Partridge said the Ramseys may sell off some adjoining property to the historical part of the farm that was Almahurst but the heart of the farm will stay intact.

"He is keeping the farm," he said. "He lives there, it's his home, and he's staying."