HALLANDALE BEACH, FL—After spending close to a decade as the top assistant for decorated trainer Mike Maker, Nolan Ramsey is striking out on his own.

A 27-year-old native of Lexington, Ky., Ramsey is the grandson of prominent owner Ken Ramsey, whose 21 wins have him on track for a ninth Championship Meet owner’s title in 11 years. Nolan Ramsey said the move is effective May 1.

“I’ve talked to Mike and given him my notice. We’re going to see him through the winter meet here and through the end of April,” he said. “This spring would have been nine years for him full time. I worked for him in grade school and high school, walking hots and doing stuff for him, so I’ve been in his barn a long time.

“It’s always been in the back of my mind. I always wanted to train a couple winners of my own. I’ve got some things pushing me to do it now, one being my family. My grandfather’s not getting any younger, so I’d sure like to win some races for the family before it’s too late,” he added. “The timing of it is right now.”

While unsure when it would happen, Maker was not surprised by Ramsey’s decision.

“He started with me right out of high school. It was always his goal [to be a trainer],” Maker said. “I wish him the best and appreciate everything he’s done for us. I expect him to do nothing but well.”

Among the top horses to come along during Ramsey’s time as an assistant are a dozen millionaires including Grade 1-winners Atone, Bigger Picture, Henley’s Joy, Red Knight and Zulu Alpha, Grade 2-winners Da Big Hoss, Cross Border, Field Pass, International Star and Somelikeithotbrown and Grade 3-winner Oscar Nominated.

Ramsey expects to have anywhere from 40 to 50 horses including some from his grandfather, and plans to maintain a presence at Gulfstream while branching out to the Mid-Atlantic.

Return to the Feb. 29 issue of Wire to Wire