On Saturday, January 4, trainer Luis Ramirez returned to the winner’s circle during the opening weekend of the 2014 Calder Meet at Calder Casino & Race Course for the first time since the beginning of the 2013 Calder Meet. He scored his first victory of the new year with one of his new trainees.
“It feels really good,” said Ramirez. “I hope to keep doing good.”
Ramirez, who trained for leading owner Frank Carl Calabrese in 2012 and the first part of 2013, took a brief hiatus then returned to racing a new batch of horses for new owners toward the end of the 2013 Tropical Meet after a brief hiatus.
Ramirez was a major presence at Calder in 2012 and the beginning of the 2013 Calder Meet while training for Calabrese.
During his standout 2012 season, Ramirez scored stakes victories in the Memorial Day Handicap and the Mecke Stakes with Where’s Sterling during the Calder Meet. During the Tropical Meet, he won the opening leg of the Tropical Starter Series open division with Bull Dozer; the Cassidy Stakes with Dreaming of Sophia; and the final leg of the Florida Stallion Stakes Series for fillies, the My Dear Girl Division, with Verso a Verso. Ramirez finished fourth in the Calder Meet standings with 24 victories and tied for third in the Tropical Meet standings with 23 victories.
“Last year I had really good results in Calder,” said Ramirez. “I think this is the place I like.”
Ramirez’s last win at Calder for Calabrese was on April 26, the seventh win of the 2013 Calder Meet for Ramirez. He did not register another win at Calder until Saturday’s last race, when the 3-year-old gelding Farleys Mandate, owned by Jack Treadway, broke his maiden in a 7 ½-furlong maiden claiming race on the turf.
Ramirez said that during his hiatus he went to New York with trainer Nick Canani. “I spent about two weeks there and then I came back and started looking for owners,” said Ramirez
Ramirez, who was a longtime assistant for Canani prior to becoming a head trainer for the Calabrese barn, has been stabled at Calder with his new batch of horses for his new owners for about a month and a half.
Ramirez currently has six horses in training at Calder for his new owners, including Treadway. Grand Hall, now a 3-year-old filly who is also owned by Treadway, is entered for Friday’s eighth race at Calder. She just missed scoring her first victory with Ramirez on November 30 at Calder, coming second by just a nose in a 6-furlong claiming race. She finished fourth in her most recent appearance at Calder on December 20.
“I like to train,” said Ramirez. “It’s the only job I know.”