06/18/2013 1:32PM

Churchill Downs: Ramseys expect Animal Style to win Thursday allowance

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Lynn Roberts/Hodges Photography
Animal Style, the winner of the Van Berg Stakes on the Fair Grounds turf in January, likely will be favored in a Churchill Downs turf allowance Thursday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Sometimes you eat the chalk, and sometimes the chalk eats you.

For Churchill Downs horseplayers, that’s been the case for much of the spring meet in regard to Ken and Sarah Ramsey and their primary trainer, Mike Maker. From the very start of the 38-day meet, they’ve run big favorites down the throats of the opposition, starting a parade of short-priced winners with Horned Frog in the April 27 opener all the way through Saturday night with Kitten’s Dumplings in the Regret Stakes.

And then came Sunday, when Ramsey and Maker sent out four horses – all favorites, and all losers: Dapper Dude (3-5), Jaypeezee (1-1), Dehere On Tour (1-1), and Amazing Kitten (9-5).

Still, Maker’s 34 percent win rate (27 for 80) and his return on investment of $2.10 for every $2 win wager are inescapable indicators that he is having a huge meet and has struck with the occasional longshot.

Likewise, the Ramseys, with 23 wins, are just four away from the Churchill record for owners at a single meet, a mark set by A.J. Foyt III during a 93-day meet in 1994.

“We are going for that record,” Ken Ramsey said Tuesday. “Absolutely. We’re going to kill ’em the last couple weeks. Actually, 30 is my goal.”

Ramsey and Maker will be front and center again Thursday at Churchill, where back-to-back allowances with wide-open conditions occupy unusually early spots on a nine-race card. Race 2, with Maker and Ramsey prominent, is a $58,000 turf mile for 3-year-olds, while race 3 is a $58,000, seven-furlong allowance matching 3-year-old fillies who have never won a graded stakes.

Ramsey has a stable coupling in race 2 but said he intends to scratch Redwood Kitten, trained by Wesley Ward, in favor of Animal Style, trained by Maker. Animal Style was a two-back winner of a turf-sprint allowance at Keeneland.

“Animal Style should be good in there,” Ramsey said. “I’m going to save Redwood Kitten for a little stakes early in the Gulfstream meet.”

Ward has another horse, Undrafted, in the race, and he could be the main threat to Animal Style after exiting five straight stakes races. Undrafted is owned by All-Pro wide receiver Wes Welker of the Denver Broncos.

In race 3, the probable favorite in a field of six is Tread, a speedy filly bred and owned by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider.

Churchill’s four-day race week begins with a $19,080 carryover in the $2 pick six (races 4-9) and a $4,471 carryover in the $1 super high five (race 9). First post is 12:45 p.m. Eastern.