Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Jamie Ness nears 8th consecutive Tampa Bay Downs title

OLDSMAR — The more things change for Jamie Ness, the more they stay the same.

His horses are often on the move, the result of a claiming game that Ness said accounts for 90 percent of his success. That approach has him on the verge of his eighth consecutive conditioning title at Tampa Bay Downs.

Ness, 39, will tie Don Rice for most crowns since 1980, when the track began documenting records. Rice's titles were from 1994-2005. Ness entered Friday with an 18-win lead over Gerald Bennett. Only 10 dates remain in the meet, which officially ends June 30.

Flexibility has led to Ness' fame. This season, he has claimed 21 horses at the Downs totaling $215,750. His new runners have combined to finish first in 10 of 35 starts, a 28.6 winning percentage similar to his 29.3 percent meet win rate (49 victories from 167 starts). Ness has lost 20 horses at the claiming box.

"It's just taking the best horse out of the race," Ness said. "I've got my program that I put them on. Most of the times, they do good … sometimes they don't.

"There's so much (work) you put into it. You've got to take care of your horse, and make sure he comes over fit, sound and ready to go. You've got to have the horse to do it, too. It's a very complicated process."

The decline in the foal crop and smaller race fields have made claiming more challenging to Ness, who has undergone personal growth in the past decade.

When Ness arrived at the Downs in 2004-05, the only year he hasn't won or shared a title, the Heron, S.D., native was single, lived in an apartment, and had career totals of less than 170 wins and $1.5 million in purse earnings.

Now he is married, lives in a 3,000 square foot house in Odessa, and is closing in on 2,100 victories and $30 million in purse money. Ness and his wife Mandy are parents to 18-month-old daughter Hannah and expect another girl in June.

The apex of Ness' career came in 2012, when he captured a national title with 395 victories for owner Midwest Thoroughbreds.

The Ness-trained Flashy Eyed Pearl gave Midwest its 2,000th win on April 12 at Pimlico in Baltimore, two hours before Guam Typhoon, one of Ness' top claims, won at the Downs. "I probably have 1,500 wins (for Midwest)," he said.

Ness will be based this summer at Bowie Training Center in Maryland and race the Mid-Atlantic circuit.

"It was a great decision for me to come (to Oldsmar)," he said. "But at first, it was kind of iffy."

Mandy, a former jockey, said Jamie has changed her life, too.

"He's a great father, he's a great husband — very supportive," she said. "I get to come to work and do something that I love with the person I love."

EASTER SCHEDULE: Tampa Bay Downs and greyhound track Derby Lane will be closed on Easter Sunday. Tampa Greyhound Track will be open, beginning at 10 a.m.

Jamie Ness nears 8th consecutive Tampa Bay Downs title 04/18/14 [Last modified: Friday, April 18, 2014 8:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Cup-winning Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman said Dave Andreychuk's name has surfaced often the past eight years with the selection committee.

    30 Oct 2001:  Left wing Dave Andreychuk #25 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates towards the blue line during the NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada.  The Maple Leafs defeated the Lightning 3-2.  Mandatory Credit:  Dave Sanford /Allsport
  2. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  3. Rays at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, Pittsburgh

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Pirates

    7:05, PNC Park

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: Alex Cobb (6-5, 4.05)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  4. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108
  5. What they're saying about Dave Andreychuk making Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    "Dave helped me so much when I was just starting my career, a young kid that was looking to find his way as a hockey player, a person and a member of the Tampa Bay community. In addition to watching him compile such awe-inspiring statistics, I remember him as a big brother to me and many others, making sure all the …