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Ward nips Maker for Turfway title by winning last race of truncated meet

Turfway Park press release

Florence, Ky., (March 26, 2020) – The last race on what became the last day of the Turfway Park 2020 winter/spring meet and the last at the existing facility put Wesley Ward alone at the top of the standings for his fourth leading trainer title at the Northern Kentucky track. Ward broke a tie with Mike Maker when Fitri Hay’s Zipaway went gate-to-wire in the eighth race Saturday, March 21, to give Ward his 19th win from 53 starters.

Zipaway also holds the distinction of being the last horse to win a race at Turfway’s existing facility. Originally scheduled to end March 28, the meet was cut short by three days in compliance with Governor Andrew Beshear’s directive to close non-essential businesses during the coronavirus outbreak. The 61-year-old grandstand is already being dismantled to make way for a new building on the site that will offer gaming in the form of historical racing machines as well as live Thoroughbred racing.

Wesley Ward. Coady Photography

Ward’s tiebreaking win left Maker in second place with 18 wins from 70 starters. Cipriano Contreras, who tied with Ward for last year’s winter/spring meet, was third with 12 wins from 39 starters.

The leading trainer title was Ward’s third straight in winter/spring meets. He also shared the title for the 2018 holiday meet with Maker, who holds the Turfway Park record with 22 leading trainer titles.

Among Ward’s wins were the Cincinnati Trophy Stakes with Karak and the listed John Battaglia Memorial Stakes with Invader. Maker won both of the biggest races of the meet, the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) with Field Pass and the Maxim Crane Works Bourbonette Oaks (listed) with Queen of God. Cipriano took home two stakes trophies, the Forego and the Kentucky Cup Classic, both with the rugged, 8-year-old gelding Nun the Less.

Jockey Albin Jimenez cruised to his seventh meet title at Turfway and his second straight, riding 47 winners from 217 mounts, including Invader in the Battaglia Memorial. Gerardo Corrales, riding his first meet at Turfway, was second with 38 winners from 149 mounts, including Karak in the Cincinnati Trophy. Apprentice Joseph Ramos, who began his riding career in 2019 at Hipódromo Camarero in Puerto Rico, ranked third with 26 wins from 191 mounts.

Ken and Sarah Ramsey earned their 17th Turfway title as leading owners, with nine winners from 39 starters. Ward was next, with five winners from nine starters. Four owners—Andy Kohler, Genero Garcia’s Southwest Stables, Andrew McKenzie and Robert A. Ray—tied for third with four wins apiece.

Jennie Rees is a communications and advocacy specialist in the horse industry who spent 32 years covering horse racing for The (Louisville) Courier-Journal before taking a corporate buyout. In addition to handling communications for the Kentucky HBPA, Rees is Kentucky Downs’ publicity director, manages in-season racing publicity for Ellis Park and serves as a consultant to the National HBPA. Other projects include the Preakness Stakes, Indiana Grand’s Indiana Derby Week and work for various HBPA affiliates and horsemen’s associations.