Mike Maker, Race Horse Trainer






9/25/10 - Stately Victor Earns Ontario Derby Crown

Courtesy of the Blood-Horse

Stately Victor, who took the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) in April before off-the-board finishes in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), Belmont Stakes (gr. I) and Virginia Derby (gr. IIT), returned to the winner’s circle in the $150,653 Ontario Derby (VIDEO) Sept. 25 at Woodbine.

Returning to Polytrack for the first time since his Blue Grass tally, the son of Ghostzapper put in a strong outside rally around the final turn and wore down a game So Elite in the lane. He scooted away to a 3 ¼-length victory for owners Jack and Thomas Conway.

Queen's Plate's champion Big Red Mike, the 2-1 favorite, faded to finish sixth while Plate runner-up Hotep was third.

The running time for 1 1/8 miles was 1:50.51.

Sent off as the second choice at 5-2, Stately Victor, with blinkers on for trainer Mike Maker, was handled patiently by Victor Lebron as Kara's Orientation took the eight-horse field through opening splits of :24.30, :48.17 and 1:11.98.

Stately Victor was joined by So Elite late in the turn and the duo locked horns before the bay colt took command mid-stretch to notch his third win from 12 starts. The victory was worth $87,759 and extended Stately Victor's overall earnings to $598,612.

The Kentucky-bred came into the Ontario Derby off three tough races. After finishing eighth to Super Saver in the Kentucky Derby on May 1, Stately Victor was seventh in the Belmont Stakes. He then finished fifth behind Paddy O’Prado on the grass at Colonial Downs July 17.

“After the Bluegrass, it was such a huge turnaround in form that we had to believe that Polytrack made a significant difference in his performance there,” noted Maker.

The decision to opt for blinkers was not a difficult one to make. Stately Victor began his career wearing the hood.

“When he ran at Colonial Downs last time, he looked like a horse that had never seen the racetrack,” said Maker. “At the top of the stretch, he looked like he wanted to make a right-hand turn. It was completely out of character, so we went back to them.”

Maker was pleased to see Stately Victor back in the winner’s circle after hooking some of the United States’ top 3-year-old talent over the past few months.

“We’ve ducked no one and it was nice to come up here to get a win, my first win up here.”

Adena Springs bred Stately Victor, who is out of the Dynaformer mare Collect the Cash. The bay colt sold for $250,000 at the breeder's Spring 2009 sale.

7/25/10 - Mike is ON A ROLL, back from two stakes wins at Canterbury Downs, he takes the Sanford at Saratoga the next day

Courtesy of the Thoroughbred Times Today'

Maybesomaybenot benefited from a heady ride by Julien Leparoux and trouble at the starting gate from 1.95-to-1 favorite and probable pace factor Bail Out the Cat to score a wire-to-wire 11⁄2-length victory over Nacho Saint in the $150,000 Sanford Stakes (G2) on Sunday at Saratoga Race Course.

The two-year-old Sunday Break (Jpn) gelding trained by Mike Maker (a homebred for Arthellor Scisney & Carolyn Scisney) broke his maiden by six lengths at Churchill Downs on July 3 in frontrunning fashion, and Leparoux wasted little time in repeating that strategy on Sunday, sending 9.60- to-1 Maybesomaybenot to the lead from the first post position.

Bail Out the Cat, who entered the Sanford off of an impressive maiden victory on June 10 at Belmont Park, acted up in the gate just before the break and then hit the gate at the start, causing jockey Alan Garcia to lose his right iron. Without Bail Out the Cat’s expected pressure, Maybesomaybenot had a relatively easy trip along the backstretch under Leparoux, taking the eight-horse field through an opening half-mile in :45.65. Another Silver Oak briefly loomed a threat from his stalking position in second on the turn, but Maybesomaybenot shook free of that foe in early stretch and pulled away to a decisive victory despite drifting slightly to the right in the final furlong. He covered six furlongs in 1:10.97 on a track rated as good.

“We meant to go to the front,” Leparoux said following the race. “With the rail, you kind of have to send him from there. [Maybesomaybenot] was in front pretty easy and he’s still a little green. “My horse kind of looked around in the stretch, but he [finished] pretty well. Hopefully, he can go forward from today.” With his first stakes victory, Maybesomaybenot improved his career record to two wins in three starts and earnings of $125,700.

—Patrick Reed

7/24/10 - Mike wins Claiming Crown for the 4th time with HEADACHE!!

Courtesy of the Blood-Horse

Headache charged home late to capture the $138,000 Claiming Crown Jewel at Canterbury Park July 24, giving owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey, trainer Mike Maker, and jockey Julien Leparoux back-to-back wins of the two main events in the annual series for racing's blue-collar workers.

About a half-hour earlier, Leparoux guided the Ramseys' Inca King to a 1 1/4-length triumph in the $94,000 Claiming Crown Emerald as the 1-2 favorite on the Canterbury turf.

The other multiple winner on the six-race Claiming Crown program was jockey Israel Ocampo, who won twice with Moralist, the 9-10 choice in the $46,500 Claiming Crown Express and My Irish Girl, the 19-10 favorite in the $70,500 Claiming Crown Glass Slipper.

In the 1 1/8-mile Jewel, Headache rallied from fifth in the compact six-horse field in the lane to collar pacesetter Smarten Destiny in the final strides to win by a neck. Headache, who was blocked into the stretch and was forced to alter course to the outside under left-handed urging from Leparoux, won with something left in a final time of 1:50.11 over a fast track.

“He’s the kind of horse you have to wait with and then go, and that’s what he did today," said the 2009 Eclipse Award-winning Leparoux. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Smarten Destiny, ridden by Eddie Martin Jr., took second by one length over Strike Impact and Shane Sellers.

Favored Racing Bran (7-5) faded in the stretch to finish fifth after pressing Smarten Destiny through quarter-mile fractions of :23.87, :48.06, and 1:11.81. For All Who Conga finished fourth while My Friend Nev trailed.

Headache, the second choice in the field at odds of 9-5, ended a seven-race losing streak with his first stakes win. The 4-year-old son of Tapit  --Pamric, by Woodman, was bred by Dr. J.K. and Linda Griggs, and was purchased for $75,000 as a yearling at Fasig-Tipton's July 2007 Kentucky sale.

The gray/roan colt was claimed by Maker for the Ramseys at Belmont Park last Sept. 30  for $25,000. He improved his career record to 5-5-2 in 18 starts with earnings of $217,955 with the winning purse of $82,500.

“I love this horse,” said Ken Ramsey, “but he had given me plenty of headaches running second, second, second so many times.  Today Julien got him home, though.”

Headache, coming off a second-place finish in an allowance race at Churchill Downs July 2, carried 122 pounds and paid $5.60, $3.60 and $3.60 while topping a $50 exacta. Smarten Destiny returned $8.80 and $10.20. Strike Impact was $7.20 to show.

A race earlier, the Ramseys' Inca King dominated 10 rivals in the Emerald while completing the 1 1/16-mile turf test in 1:42.80 over good going. Defending Emerald winner Gran Estreno, the likely second choice, was scratched by stewards.

Inca King ($3) tracked pacesetters Carson's Honor and Prairie Fox (:23.27, :47.06, 1:11.28) from the rail in fourth before Leparoux angled the 6-year-old Sir Cat gelding three wide into the stretch. With clear sailing, Inca King swept past Tiger Lake and Shane Laviolette inside the final furlong to win under moderate encouragement. Tiger Lake nosed the fast-closing Elusive Shemes, ridden by Gallyn Mitchell for second.

They made us work for it,” said Kenneth Ramsey.  “That Julien is something else. It’s quite an honor to win up here at Canterbury.”

The winner, claimed by Maker for $40,000 at Churchill Downs last November, carried top weight of 124 pounds to his sixth win in seven starts in 2010. He was coming off a third-place finish in a game effort in the one-mile Firecracker Handicap (gr. IIT) at Churchill July 4. Overall, Inca King, who is out of the Prized mare Inca Prize, has won 16 of 34 starts with earnings of $804,113.

Maker has now won seven Claiming Crown races in the past four years.

   6/4/10 - Maker Quietly Confident in Stately Victor in the BELMONT STAKES (G1)

Courtesy of the TDN

Trainer Mike Maker accumulated a fair amount of exposure to the Triple Crown while an assistant to D. Wayne Lukas and helped prepare the likes of Charismatic during his run back in 1999. On his own since 2003, Maker, who won his first Breeders' Cup race last year with Furthest Land (Smart Strike)
in the Dirt Mile, will tighten the girth around Stately Victor (Ghostzapper) in Saturday' s main event. Despite the absence of a win on a conventional dirt surface, the son of GISW Collect the Cash (Dynaformer) has run well enough on the main track. A debut second to subsequent GSW Winslow Homer (Unbridled's Song) at Saratoga last August, the bay put in a respectable run in the GI Kentucky Derby May 1, drawing to within 3 1/2 lengths of the lead at the mile call before staying on for eighth. "He didn't disgrace himself in the Derby," Maker said. "We would have liked a better placing. He couldn't look any better right now and he's handled his weight after the Derby. He=s been impressive from Day 1 and still is impressive."

  5/31/10 -  FUNNY FEELING takes the JUST SMASHING S. at Monmouth

Funny Feeling, a half-sister to the top-shelf Pussycat Doll, won at first asking at Churchill last November and was a good third in the Ruthless S. at Aqueduct Jan. 10. She went of form and then
turned things around with an allowance win over Fuzzy Britches (Pollard's Vision) at Churchill Apr. 30 and was returning to stakes company as a 5-1 shot. The chestnut sat just off the leaders as heavily favored Midst (Closing Argument), at 2-5 off an impressive Keeneland allowance, was headstrong while setting :22/17 and :44.96 splits. The favorite called it quits in midstretch and Funny Feeling swooped in for a first black-type win. By Distorted Hunor out of Hookedonthefeelin, by Citidancer, she was bred by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings and is owned by Twin Creeks Racing.
Lifetime Record: 6-3-0-1, $120,036

4/12//10 - State of the Union...Mike to have 2 in the DERBY!

Stately Victor (Ghostzapper), upset winner of the GI Toyota Blue Grass S. at Keeneland Saturday, exited the race in good order and was back at his home base at Churchill Downs Saturday night.

"He came out of the race fine--excellent," trainer Mike Maker said. Maker has
already mapped out a plan to get the colt to the May 1 "Run for the Roses." "He will work six or seven days out from the Derby, and that will be it," said the conditioner, who will saddling a Derby runner for the first time.

Maker will also send GII Lane's End S. winner Deans Kitten (Kitten's Joy) to the first leg of the Triple
Crown. The Ken and Sarah Ramsey homebred worked five-eighths in 1:01 4/5 on the Trackside training track Saturday. "He worked well, and he will work every Saturday or Sunday prior to the Derby," Maker said.

3/27/10 - STATELY VICTOR delivers Blue Grass (G1) stunner.

Courtesy of the Thoroughbred Times Today
Tim Nichols

With a past performance sheet littered with phrases such as “no bid”, “tired”, and “no threat”, it was no surprise Stately Victor started in Saturday’s $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G1) at 40.10-to-1 odds, the longest odds in the field.

After Kentucky’s signature Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) prep race, one important note will be added to Stately Victor’s résumé: Grade 1 winner.

Stately Victor, a maiden winner making his second career stakes start, made a bold five-wide move in the stretch and drew off to a shocking and impressive 4¼-length win in front of a 33,727 stunned patrons at Keeneland Race Course, a Blue Grass day attendance record. Stately Victor paid $82.20 for a $2 win wager, the biggest payout in Blue Grass history.

“I’ve always been high on this horse,” winning trainer Mike Maker said. “After a while when a horse underachieves, you kinda forget about him. But I never quit believing in this horse.”

Owned by Kentucky Attorney General and U.S. Senate candidate Jack Conway and his father, Tom, Stately Victor entered the Blue Grass off a fifth-place finish in a first-level allowance race on March 7 at Gulfstream Park. The three-year-old Ghostzapper colt finished willingly in his previous start but entered off five straight unplaced finishes since winning a maiden special weight race last September on the Saratoga Race Course turf.

After bumping with First Dude at the start, Stately Victor settled in behind the pace under Alan Garcia about 6½ lengths back as Tampa Bay Derby (G3) winner Odysseus took the lead through a half-mile in :47.96. Stately Victor gradually advanced on the far turn as runner-up Paddy O’Prado took the lead from Odysseus following six furlongs in 1:12.33. Paddy O’Prado and Kent Desormeaux looked strong entering the stretch, but Stately Victor quickly closed the gap from the outside. Once he got the lead, the outcome was never in doubt as Stately Victor surged well clear and stamped his ticket to the Kentucky Derby with his $450,000 winner’s share.

Paddy O’Prado, winner of the Palm Beach Stakes (G3) at 11⁄8 miles on the Gulfstream Park turf course in his previous start, held on for second and most likely solidified a spot in the Kentucky Derby with $250,950 in graded stakes earnings. First Dude held on for third, one length better than Interactif.

While the connections of Stately Victor celebrated, Saturday’s result all but ended Odysseus’ Kentucky Derby hopes. Entering the race with $180,000 in graded stakes earnings, Odysseus faded to last in the nine-horse field and will need multiple defections to make the Kentucky Derby starting gate.

  3/27/10 - HUGE DAY AT TURFWAY: Dean’s Kitten draws off to Lane’s End ( G2) victory, Age of Humor, ran second in the Bourbonette Oaks G3, and Lonesome Street, ran second in the100k Rushaway S.


Courtesy of the Thoroughbred TImes Today
—Tim Nichols

With Pleasant Prince already on the Triple Crown trail, owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey doubled their Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brand (G1) chances on Saturday as Dean’s Kitten captured the $500,000 Lane’s End Stakes (G2) at Turfway Park.

The three-year-old Kitten’s Joy colt surged to the lead under Cornelio Velasquez in early stretch and drew off to a 2½-length victor y for trainer Mike Maker. Dean’s Kitten covered 11⁄8 miles on the synthetic Polytrack surface in 1:50.59. The win boosted Dean’s Kitten’s earnings in graded stakes to $326,475, which should be more than enough to secure a spot in the Churchill Downs starting gate on May 1. The field for the first jewel of the Triple Crown is limited to 20 starters with preference given to horses with the highest career earnings in graded stakes.

“I really like this horse,” Velasquez said. “He’s why I came here. He has a lot of try. He loves Polytrack. He can run on grass, but this is his track.”

Entering off a runner-up finish on March 6 in the 11⁄8-mile Palm Beach Stakes (G3) on the turf at Gulfstream Park, Dean’s Kitten broke well and settled in third as California raider Ranger Heartley led the field through half-mile in :48.57 and six furlongs in 1:12.68. Longshot Vow to Wager launched a bid for the lead from the outside, but Dean’s Kitten powered to the front entering the stretch with a determined bid. Velasquez kept the colt to task in the final furlong en route to a convincing victory. Northern Giant closed well for second, 31⁄4 lengths clear of third-place finisher and 1.70-to- 1 favorite Connemara.

Dean’s Kitten entered the Lane’s End as the most experienced horse in the race (along with Ranger Heartley), making his 11th career and eighth straight stakes start. The Lane’s End was Dean’s Kitten’s second career race on an all-weather surface. He previously finished third in a 4½-furlong maiden special weight race last April at Keeneland Race Course in his career debut. If the Ramseys, who were in Dubai to watch Furthest Land in the Emirates Airline Dubai World Cup (UAE-G1), choose to start Dean’s Kitten in the Kentucky Derby, it would be the colt’s second career start on dirt. In his only previous start on dirt, Dean’s Kitten fifth to Eskendereya, beaten by 33 ¾ lengths, in the off-the-turf Pilgrim Stakes on October 4 at Belmont Park.

On the same day Age of Humor, f 3, Distorted Humor - Age of Silver by Silver Deputy, ran second in the Bourbonette Oaks G3 at Turfway Park for owner:R L Reineman Stable Inc.

AND Lonesome Street, c 3 Broken Vow Dam: Street Cat (Storm Cat) ran second in the100k Rushaway S . He is owned by the Ramseys who also had a big day at Turfway Park even if things did not work out as they hoped at Meydan

   2/20/10 - Age of Humor third in the SILVERBULLETDAY S. (G3)

Age of Humor ran third in the SILVERBULLETDAY G2 going a mile and a sixteenth at the Fair Grounds Race Course. She is a Distorted Humor filly out of Age of Silver, by Silver Deputy and is owned by Twin Creeks Racing Stables, LLC.

   2/13/10 - FOREST ATTACK wins the DUST COMMANDER

FOREST ATTACK, h. 6, Forestry - Joy Valley *brz (Ghadeer *fr) won the Dust Commander S at Turfway Park. He was bred by Aaron U Jones & Marie D Jones abd is owned by Scarlet Stable.
Lifetime: 17-6-6-0 $140,789

   1/30/10 - KERA`S KITTEN scores in the WEBN stakes at Turfway Park.

Here come the three year old KITTENS! Ramsey homebred, KERA`S KITTEN, c 3 Kitten`s Joy - Mrs. K. (Dixieland Band) took the WEBN stakes at Turfway Park with ease.
Lifetime: 5-3-0-0 $104,585

   1/23/10 - WILLIAM`S KITTEN ran third in the HOLY BULL G3 as he climbed on the Derby Trail

Ramsey homebred, WILLIAM`S KITTEN, c 3 by Kitten`s Joy - Blush (Menifee) ran a good third in the HOLY BULL G3.
LifetimeL 8-2-1-2 $167,098

   1/10/10 - Funny Feeling third in the Ruthless S at Aqueduct.

Funny Feeling, f 3, Distorted Humor - Hookedonthefeelin (Citidancer) ran third in the Ruthless S at Aqueduct for breeder Stonestreet Holdings, LLC and owner Twin Creeks Racing Stable.