01/08/2013 6:45PM

2012 Eclipse Awards: Midwest Thoroughbreds


Richard and Karen Papiese’s Midwest Thoroughbreds ranked at the top of the North American owners’ list in both earnings and wins in 2011, and the multi-state operation stepped up the pace in 2012, finishing a runaway leader in wins and earnings in North America, and breaking a decades-old single-season win mark.

The Papieses, owners of a prominent store-fixture manufacturing and retail business in University Park, Ill., started Midwest Thoroughbreds in 2001 with just two horses. The operation has grown into a virtual equine assembly line in recent years, with a focus on maintaining a strong presence in the claiming ranks at racetracks across the Midwest and South and accumulating a diverse roster of horses, many of them trained by Jamie Ness.

Midwest Thoroughbreds concluded 2012 with 542 wins and earnings of $10,150,498. The Papieses and Ness orchestrated one of the year’s top blue-collar success stories when they claimed Guam Typhoon in February and the veteran gelding proceeded to reel off six consecutive wins – including three in stakes – at five different tracks.

Midwest Thoroughbreds was the leading owner by wins for Arlington Park’s 2012 meet, its first title at the suburban Chicago racetrack, and in November surpassed Dan Lasater’s national single-season win mark of 494 set in 1974.

The Papieses continued to consolidate their racing operation. The couple leased barns at Hawthorne in 2012 and set up a training center to complement their facility at Thunder Ranch near Ocala, Fla., which was purchased in 2009 to house the stable’s lay-ups and overflow.