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)

Tampa Bay Downs' leading trainer always on the go

OLDSMAR — Have horse, will travel.

Jamie Ness can be as challenging to keep up with as many of his thoroughbreds. On the final day of March, he won the $50,000 Shine Again Stakes with Sneaky Lil at Pimlico in Baltimore. Two weeks later, he was at Charles Town, W. Va., where his Lady of Greatness finished fourth in the $200,000 Sugar Maple Stakes.

Ness, an Odessa resident, calls Tampa Bay Downs his home track. But when the Oldsmar meet ends May 6, Ness will focus on having horses in the right spots at tracks up and down the East Coast.

Ness, 37, will win an unprecedented sixth consecutive training championship this season at the Downs. This one will be particularly special. Entering Friday, the Midwest Thoroughbreds conditioner had a record 75 victories from 162 starts, smashing his previous mark of 68 wins in 2007-08. His closest competitor, Jorge Navarro (29 wins), wasn't close. Ness' win rate was a surreal 46 percent with an in-the-money percentage of 77. His horses had earned $830,686.

"I'm actually surprised (by the win margin)," Ness said. "We stuck to our guns and ran a conservative meet. You can't run hard year-round or the horses won't hold up. If a horse gets tired or a little ouchy, I can take them to the (Midwest) farm (in Anthony) and give them a break. The key to my help is I don't have any turnover. Mandy (Ness' wife) runs the show when I'm not (at the Downs)."

Ness' career began to take off on Jan. 5, 2007, when he claimed Lookinforthesecret at the Downs. A $12,500 purchase, the sprinter won eight stakes races under Ness and put the Heron, S.D., native on the thoroughbred map. Ness later was hired by Midwest co-owners Richard and Karen Papiese of University Park, Ill. Midwest will be the Downs' leading owner for the third straight year.

Last year, Midwest topped the nation in wins and purse earnings, finishing a close second in Eclipse Award voting for the sport's best owner. Ness and his wife attended the Eclipse ceremony in Beverly Hills, Calif. After it was announced that Ken and Sarah Ramsey had beaten Midwest by a 66-60 vote, Ness told the Papieses, "We want to be first next year."

They are well on their way. Midwest ranks first this year in wins and purse earnings by wide margins. Ness, second nationally in victories the past two seasons behind Steven Asmussen, is No. 1 this year.

Ness is always looking to upgrade his stock. Entering Friday, he had been involved in 24.3 percent of the 259 claims at the Downs. Ness had claimed 34 horses (totaling $432,000) and lost 29.

"When you're claiming horses, it takes a lot of background work," he said. "It's very time-consuming from morning to night."

Tampa Bay Downs' leading trainer always on the go 04/27/12 [Last modified: Friday, April 27, 2012 10:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tiki Barber will join his brother, Ronde, on Fox broadcast for Bucs-Giants

    Bucs

    FOX announced Monday night that former Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber will have a familiar face joining him as a guest analyst for the Oct. 1 Bucs-Giants game in Tampa: his twin brother Tiki, who will join …

    Tiki Barber, right, will join his brother, Ronde, left, as a guest analyst on the Oct. 1 Bucs-Giants broadcast on FOX. [Times files (2006)]
  2. Cannons will fire again when Bucs return to Raymond James Stadium

    Bucs

    As good as the Bucs looked in their season-opening 29-7 win against the Bears on Sunday, fans couldn't help but notice that the success didn't sound the same at Raymond James Stadium.

     Ron Gutschmidt is perched on top of the Buccaneer pirate ship ready to activate the ship's cannons with the press of a button after a Buccaneer touchdown. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
  3. Rick and Tom podcast: How should Joe Maddon be remembered tonight?

    The Heater

    Rick Stroud and Tom Jones talk about Joe Maddon's return to Tropicana Field for the first time since he left the Rays in 2014 in the latest edition of our Rick and Tom podcast. They discuss the mixed emotions …

    Joe Maddon returns to Tropicana Field tonight for the first time since he left the Rays in 2014. [Getty Images]
  4. Cubs bring some other ex-Rays to Trop such as Wade Davis, Ben Zobrist

    Blogs

    Joe Maddon's first trip back to the Trop is getting most of the headlines tonight, but there are several other familiar faces among the eight former Rays now wearing Cubs uniforms.

    Two-time Rays MVP Ben Zobrist is finishing strong after a slow start to his second season in Chicago.
  5. Oleg Sosunov brings intrigue to Lightning exhibition opener

    Blogs

    When Hall of Famer Phil Esposito first saw Lightning prospect Oleg Sosunov, he joked he thought the 6-foot-8 Russian would hit the ceiling of Amalie Arena.

    Oleg Sosunov's ability to skate for his size, his reach, and his style have drawn comparisons to Zdeno Chara.