09/12/2015 8:43AM

Ramseys earn national honors at TOBA awards

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Tom Keyser
Ken and Sarah Ramsey

Ken and Sarah Ramsey were honored as 2014's National Owner of the Year and National Breeder of the Year at the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association's annual awards dinner Friday night at Hill 'n' Dale Farms in Lexington, Ky. Also walking away with a major piece of hardware were Perry Martin and Steve Coburn, honored as National Small Breeder of the Year.

The TOBA awards honor the achievements of Thoroughbred owners in the four major North American racing regions and breeders in 23 states and Canada. The Ramseys, who also earned honors as Kentucky's Breeder of the Year, were the Southern Region Owners of the Year and outpolled three other regional finalists for the national honor.

The Ramseys, reigning Eclipse Award outstanding owner-breeders and TOBA National Owner-Breeders of the Year, continued their success on the strength of their homebred turf champion Kitten's Joy, who stands at their Ramsey Farm in Nicholasville, Ky.

"Kitten's Joy is the reason why we're up here," Ken Ramsey said on Friday afternoon as he accepted the state award. "If it wasn't for him – he's the franchise on the farm – we wouldn't be here."

Ramsey gave credit to his farm manager, Mark Partridge, and to his son, Jeff Ramsey, who books mares.

"We have kind of a three-man board," Ramsey said.

Small breeder honorees Martin and Coburn, of course, bred and campaigned last year's dual classic winner and Horse of the Year, California Chrome.

Juddmonte Farms was named the Eastern Region Owner of the Year; the outfit’s season was highlighted by Eclipse Award champion older female Close Hatches. Winchell Thoroughbreds, which campaigned champion Untapable, was named Midwestern Region Owner of the Year. Kaleem Shah, owner of 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Bayern, parlayed that into the Western Region Owner of the Year award.

TOBA had earlier announced the state and Canadian breeders of the year, with honorees including Triple AAA Ranch (Arizona), McDowell Farm (Arkansas), Nick Alexander (California), Sam-Son Farm (Canada), Ocala Stud (Florida), Richard and Karen Papiese (Illinois), Michael E. and Penny S. Lauer (Indiana), William Hobbs (Iowa), Charles Craig Smith (Louisiana), Howard M. Bender (Maryland), Arnold Farms LLC (Michigan), Rake Farms (Minnesota), Bright View Farm Inc. (New Jersey), J. Kirk and Judy Robison (New Mexico), Chester and Mary Broman (New York), Steve Laymon (North Carolina), Bill Maulding (North Dakota), 3 Clovers Farm (Ohio), Dr. Rodney E. Orr (Oregon), Franklin G. Smith (South Carolina), the  estate of Clarence Scharbauer Jr. (Texas), the estate of Edward P. Evans (Virginia), and Todd and Shawn Hansen (Washington).

Robert Sanford was honored with the Robert N. Clay Award. In partnership with the Equine Land Conservation Resource, this award recognizes a member of the Thoroughbred community who has made an outstanding contribution to preserving land for equine use.

Additionally, TOBA honored Fun House, dam of champion Untapable, as the National Broodmare of the Year. The mare, who is also the dam of Grade 1 winner Paddy O’Prado, was earlier this year named Kentucky Broodmare of the Year.

Successful eventer Mensa G, owned by Carl Bouckaert, Nathalie Bouckaert Pollard, and Jack Michael Pollard Jr., was named the Rood and Riddle Thoroughbred Sport Horse of the Year. This award honors a Thoroughbred former racehorse who has excelled in sport horse competitions as tracked by the U.S. Equestrian Federation.

St. Borealis, campaigned by the Ramseys, was named Claiming Crown Horse of the Year.