07/13/2016 1:25PM

Ness rebuilds stable after losing Midwest Thoroughbred horses

Tom Keyser
Jamie Ness has about 50 horses stabled at Delaware Park, where he leads the trainer standings.

When trainer Jamie Ness and Midwest Thoroughbreds ended their seven-year partnership in February, it reduced the size of Ness’s stable dramatically, and for the first time since 2007, he did not win the Tampa Bay Downs training title.

Fast forward five months, and Ness has pretty much rebuilt.

“Midwest had about 30 horses,” Ness said. “It pretty much cut me close to half. I have somewhere in the mid-70s now. It fluctuates. We have horses coming in and out, and we like to claim.”

Ness said he has almost 50 horses at Delaware, another 20 at Laurel Park, and a few at Monmouth Park and Presque Isle Downs.

Ness led the Tampa Bay Downs standings in February when he split with Midwest Thoroughbreds but ultimately finished second to Gerald Bennett. He currently leads the Delaware standings after winning titles in 2015, 2013, and 2012. Ness was second at Delaware in 2011 and third in 2014.

Ness finished second to Kieron Magee at the recently concluded Pimlico meet.

“I have some new owners,” said Ness, 41. “A lot of people are calling. I just can’t do the one-person-with-one-horse thing anymore. I could when I started out, but I don’t have the patience now.”

Some of Ness’s better-known owners are Robert Bone, for whom he has 10 horses, Gumpster Stable, and Acclaim Racing Stable.

“They’re people who have been in the business a while,” Ness said.

Ness races his own horses as Jagger Inc., which is named after his late dog.

“When I started, I had a lot of my own horses and was in partnerships with my friends,” Ness said. “When I got Midwest, I really couldn’t do that anymore, and it wasn’t as much fun.”

Through Tuesday, Ness is 94 for 420 for the year (22 percent). He has won 2,505 races during his career and has a 25 percent win rate.

Delaware honors Richard Handlen

Richard Handlen, who trained for William duPont Jr.’s Foxcatcher Farm for three decades, has been inducted into the Delaware Park Wall of Fame.

Handlen won the first Delaware Handicap with Rosenna in 1937. He also trained Fairy Chant, the top 3-year-old filly in 1940 and the leading older filly or mare in 1941, and Berlo, the 3-year-old filly champion in 1960. All three horses were owned by Foxcatcher Farm.

The other six trainers in the Wall of Fame are Henry Clark, Virgil “Buddy” Raines, Carl Hanford, Frank Whiteley Jr., Oscar White, and Grover “Buddy” Delp.