Horse Racing

Bumpy Road in Ward-Ramsey Case Leads to Trial Date

A long-running legal case between trainer Wesley Ward and Ken Ramsey has been set for trial 2 1/2 years after the litigation began amidst allegations of wrongdoing by both parties.

Bringing the matter a step closer to resolution, on Sept. 7 Judge Hunter Daugherty of Jessamine Circuit Court in Nicholasville, Ky., ordered a trial date starting Feb. 19.

According to an amended complaint filed about six months ago, Thoroughbred owner/breeder Ken Ramsey and the estate of his late wife Sarah Ramsey owe Wesley Ward Enterprises $1,024,790.40 for boarding, training, and racing services and expenses as of Feb. 28, 2021. When the unpaid bills came to light in media and social discourse after Ward filed suit in March 2021, Ramsey initially publicly said he would make arrangements to pay Ward but that he needed to sell real estate to do it.

“Basically, I have had a cash flow problem, and I’m not making little of what I owe them. I owe the money. It is a just debt and I’m not trying to get out of it; never tried to get out of it. I have paid on what I owe,” Ramsey told BloodHorse at the time.

MITCHELL: Ramsey Will Settle With Trainers Who Sued Over Debts

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Just 10 days earlier trainer Mike Maker had sued Ramsey in Fayette Circuit Court in Lexington, Ky., for over $900,000 in outstanding invoices on 54 horses in training. Ramsey told BloodHorse he had already contacted Maker and worked out a settlement. The case was eventually dismissed on terms that weren’t publicly disclosed, but the process took six months. Once Ramsey landed in court with Ward things didn’t go as smoothly, and Ramsey launched a counterclaim against Ward.

A recent court document filed by Ramsey attorney Craig Robertson indicates he has obtained evidence that Ward “engaged in misconduct” with Ramsey “including, but not limited to (1) not properly preparing Ramsey’s horses for racing by engaging in limited or non-existent training of them; (2) defying Ramsey’s instructions on training, shipping and racing of Ramsey’s horses; (3) neglecting to send horses back to Ramsey farm when they were unable to train or not talented enough to perform at a high level; (4) misleading Ramsey so Ward could get more of Ramsey’s horses in his possession; and (5) holding Ramsey’s horses hostage, yet intentionally refusing to train or race them, and instead simply running up Ramsey’s bill.”

That salvo came after, in Ward’s motion to set the case for trial, his attorneys Grahmn Morgan and Cody King wrote that “Ramsey, with the help of Brian Russell, began to concoct a conspiracy theory that Ward did not train Ramsey’s horses,” and that Ramsey had reneged on a promise he made in a May 3, 2021, text message to pay “$100,000 per month on the first of each month beginning June 2021″ and that he would “give you ALL the purse money any of my horses, trained by you, earn plus all claim money, if any are claimed.”

In recent filings related to one of many discovery disputes in the case, Robertson mentioned that a potential witness named Tom Layton had read about the lawsuit in the press and reached out via telephone to Ramsey’s prior counsel, Mike Meuser; and that an internal memorandum in the file notes that Layton indicated that he may have information relevant to the parties’ dispute. According to Robertson’s filing, “one aspect of the information which was shared was that Layton has familiarity with Ward and his training operations because Layton previously drove Ward to the racetrack and worked with him during a time when Ward’s driver’s license was suspended due to a DUI.”

Ward’s attorneys sought in court to obtain Robertson’s attorneys’ work product resulting from their discussions with Layton. That request was denied Sept. 7 by Daugherty, who ruled that Ward could only discover communications between Ramsey and Layton. Ramsey, during a recent deposition, said he does not know Layton and has never conversed with him. Robertson has scheduled Layton for deposition in Henderson, Nev., Sept. 15, when his claims about Ward will come to light.

Although discovery is not complete, Daugherty’s ruling indicates the parties have gathered enough information about their respective claims to work toward a February trial date. Robertson told BloodHorse the judge wants the lawyers to work together to try and agree on discovery and other deadlines leading up to the trial.

BloodHorse reached out to Ward’s attorneys for a statement in response to Robertson’s allegation of misconduct by Ward, but no response had been received when this story was posted.


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