02/04/2016 6:49PM

Midwest Thoroughbreds, trainer Ness end partnership

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Tom Keyser
Trainer Jamie Ness

Midwest Thoroughbreds and trainer Jamie Ness, who teamed up in 2009, officially ended their business relationship last week when Midwest sent 26 horses from the Ness barn to other trainers.

Midwest Thoroughbreds is owned by Richard and Karen Papiese, who operate Midwest Store Fixtures in University Park, Ill. Midwest Thoroughbreds was founded in 2001 but expanded exponentially in 2009 with Ness as its major trainer, winning 236 races from 993 starters.

In 2012, Midwest won 542 races, breaking Dan Lasater’s 1974 record of 494 wins in a year by an owner. Ness was the leading trainer in North America that year with 395 victories.

In total, Midwest and Ness won close to 1,600 races together.

“Nothing really happened, it’s just the nature of the business,” Ness said Thursday. “We had a good run. In 2012, when I was training exclusively for them, we had about 100 horses together.”

Midwest now has horses with Tom Amoss, Roger Brueggemann, Armando de la Cerda, Danny Gargan, Bob Hess, and Chris Richard. In 2015, Midwest led the nation in races won for the sixth straight year with 217 victories.

Primarily a claiming stable, Midwest has had amazing success over the past two years with a pair of Illinois-breds trained by Brueggemann – Work All Week, the Eclipse Award-winning male sprinter of 2014, and The Pizza Man, the winner of last year’s Arlington Million and Hollywood Turf Cup. The Pizza Man is scheduled to run Saturday in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap.

Ness, 41, said Thursday he still has about 55 horses in his stable. Ness has won or shared the last nine Tampa Bay Downs training titles and as of Thursday led the standings there by one win. Ness is currently second in the Laurel Park trainers’ standings. Ness won the Delaware Park training title last summer.

“Because Midwest was so big, I’ve had to turn down a lot of good owners over the years,” Ness said. “Right now, I have a lot of owners with 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 horses. This could be good for both me and them. I wish them the best of luck. We had a lot of success together.”

Ness has won 2,435 races  and purses of $36.6 million in his career. He has a lifetime win average of 25 percent.

Richard Papiese, through a press representative Thursday, said he would not be available to speak to the media until after The Pizza Man races at Gulfstream on Saturday.