When Kenneth Ramsey saw One King’s Man for the first time, he leaned over to his trainer, Joe Sharp, and said he thought they might have found a Louisiana-bred horse than can give them a shot at the Louisiana Champions Day Classic.
One King’s Man had been claimed on three different occasions over the past year, but Sharp agreed and Ramsey claimed the 4-year-old gelding for $40,000 that day. Sharp said they tried to claim One King’s Man before but lost out to another trainer.
“We’ve known about him for a while and knew he had potential, but we never got our opportunity to claim him,” Sharp said. “We knew if we claimed him at that point, he would be eligible for the Classic. We figured, with enough time, we could get a few more races under his belt and have him ready to compete.”
A month later, One King’s Man defeated 2013 Classic runner-up String King in an optional claiming event by two lengths, and Ramsey knew his investment might be paying off quicker than anticipated.
“You can give Joe and I credit for what you might like to call ‘foresight’ on that one,” Ramsey joked.
On Saturday at the Fair Grounds, Ramsey and Sharp will get to see just how clear their foresight was when One King’s Man competes in the $150,000 Classic as part of a five-horse field. Ramsey said he has great confidence in their chances.
“I believe we should finish no better than second choice, as long as we don’t bounce,” Ramsey said. “(Sharp) ran him in one race, and he ran unbelievably well. If he runs that race again Saturday, we’re going to have a great shot at it.”
A large portion of Ramsey’s confidence comes from Sharp, a 29-year-old who will look for his first career stakes win Saturday. Sharp is in a three-way tie for second in the trainer standings and has won five of his 10 starts at the Fair Grounds.
“To be batting 50 percent every time he steps out there on the Fair Grounds is really impressive,” Ramsey said. “This kid really knows what he’s doing. I think he’s going to become one of the top trainers down there during the winter. He just needs a few more horses, and I’ll probably be supplying them for him.”
The heavy favorite heading into the Classic will be Brittlyn Stable’s Sunbean, who would become the sixth Louisiana-bred horse to earn $1 million with a victory Saturday. Sharp said they understand that it will be a tall task to defeat Sunbean, but he believes One King’s Man will put up a fight.
“Sunbean is a major favorite for a reason; they have won a bunch of races. You can’t deny what they’re doing,” he said. “But we’ve been putting in a bunch of work, and I think we can give ourselves a great chance if everything goes right for us on Saturday.
“One King’s Man has what it takes to win; we just have to go out there and get it done.”