We’re proud to introduce two new board members of the Florida HPBA. As you know, a strong, committed board is crucial to our organization and the thoroughbred industry. It’s inspiring to reflect on the talents and range of skills these new members bring to helping us shape the future. Please join us in welcoming Charles Simon and Teresa Palmer to the FHBPA and wishing them well in their new roles.
Charles Simon grew up in the horse racing country surrounding Saratoga Springs. He is a graduate of Saratoga Catholic high school and as a teenager worked on the backsides of both the harness and thoroughbred tracks every summer. After graduating from the University of Arizona’s racetrack industry program with a degree in animal science he accepted a job as an assistant racing secretary at Yonkers Raceway. At the age of 21, Charles was the youngest racing official in the country. After two years he left track management to pursue a training career, starting from the ground up. The list of accomplished trainers that he worked for include hall of famers D.Wayne Lukas and Nick Zito as well as leading trainers Peter Ferriola and Tom Skiffington.
Simon’s biggest influence was the legendary Allen Jerkens for whom he was an assistant to for 5 1/2 years. With Jerkens blessing he went out on his own in 1999, taking on a private string of horses in Kentucky for leading owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey. In 2002 he opened a public stable which he has maintained to this day. In the 16 years since going on his own, Simon’s horses have won over 325 races and earned in excess of $10 million dollars. Among the many stakes races that he has won are the grade 2 Churchill Downs Handicap and the grade 3 Cardinal Handicap. Purchased privately on Simon’s advice, Battle Won parlayed stakes wins in the Kentucky Cup Turf Sprint and Woodford stakes at Keeneland into an invitation to compete in the Hong Kong International races. Other notable horses trained by Simon were successful stallion Catienus, multiple stakes winners Saratoga Sunrise, Strength and Honor, Karly’s Harley, Nothing to Lose, Presumed Innocent, Sabillena, Aire Bueno (Chi) and Killer Bird.
Why did you run in the Florida HBPA elections?
Racing is in a period of great upheaval and I believe that the decisions that we as horsemen make in the near future are going to determine our fate. It’s no longer a question of are we going to thrive or stagnate, the question we must answer now concerns viability and survival. I believed that I could offer a fresh perspective based upon my experiences in other jurisdictions and felt a responsibility to offer my time and efforts to assist in boosting the horseman’s cause.
Teresa Palmer and her husband David own Winner’s Circle Thoroughbreds farm, a 125-acre thoroughbred training facility in Morriston, FL. David introduced Teresa to horse racing almost 38 years ago, and although she was not familiar with the sport, other than watching the Kentucky Derby on TV, she immediately fell in love with thoroughbred racing. “Who doesn’t look at a horse and fall in love? They’re just magnificent animals,” she recalled.
Teresa and David’s first thoroughbred purchase was successful right out of the gate. Ann Carter, their Bloodstock agent, helped them purchase a yearling at the Ocala August Select Sale whom they later named Mr. Livingston. He went on to win the Grade 3 Palm Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park, held a track record at Calder, and earned approximately $430,000. Of recent, they have had other special horses such as Cajun Schill, a very promising and talented 2-year-old that had to be retired, and unfortunately, never got to reach his full potential.
Multiple graded stakes-winning trainer Bill Kaplan was, and still is their go-to guy. “Bill is not only a great trainer, but has become a dear, and trusted friend,” she said. Even though Bill is now retired, Teresa still goes to him with questions and concerns. “Nothing he has ever told me to do a certain way has failed me.”
The farm has served top-rated clients which include Phaedrus Flights, owners of Multiple Graded Stakes Winning filly Celestine. Pinnacle Racing Stables, famous for Breeder’s Cup Filly and Mare Sprint winner Musical Romance, Multiple Stakes Winning owners Norman Racing Stables, Stein Racing, and fellow FHBPA member Tom Cannell.
Winner’s Circle Thoroughbreds is truly a family-run business as two of the Palmer’s four children currently work on the farm. Tiffany and Nicholas are very intricate parts of the business. Tiffany oversees the feed and supplementation program, and spearheads their therapy programs, while Nicholas is Teresa’s assistant at the training barn. He stays in tune with new and innovative therapies that are on the market and whose studies show they are proven to work. Nicolas has even started his Bloodstock Business. The farm also includes a robust broodmare division. Teresa is proud to say every employee knows every horse on the farm. The Palmer’s have never strived to be the largest but to be the best. The mantra is “quality over quantity.”
Why did you run in the Florida HBPA elections?
I’d previously served two terms on the board and it really gave me an understanding of the business that as an owner, or as a fan you don’t really have. There are so many people and so many spokes of the wheel that need to come together to get anything accomplished. There’s a lot of give-and-take involved which has given me a lot of respect for that part of the industry.
I’m not the type of person to complain or think something should, or could be done better without extending my hand and saying, “how can I help?” That’s really my motivation. I’m grateful for the trust of all the horsemen who voted for me. I take this very seriously, and I hope that while I’m on the board we can work together to make wonderful things happen for our industry. I’m very excited to be a part of that.