Benjamin Leon Jr., president of Besilu Stables

Benjamin Leon Jr., president of Besilu Stables

Anne M. Eberhardt

Besilu Stables to Sponsor Florida Derby, FOY

Leon's stable signs three-year pact for sponsorship, announces additions to staff.

Besilu Stables has signed a multi-year contract as presenting sponsor of both the $1 million Florida Derby (gr. I) and $400,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II), Gulfstream Park announced Dec. 12. 

Both major preps for Thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown, the graded stakes will be known as the "Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth" and the "Besilu Stables Florida Derby" beginning next year and continuing through 2015.

The Florida Derby, to be run March 30, has produced 41 starters who have gone on to win 56 Triple Crown events. The most recent was 2012 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Union Rags , who earlier in the year won Gulfstream's Fountain of Youth.

"We are pleased to be a corporate partner of Gulfstream Park, home to the prestigious Florida Derby," said Benjamin Leon Jr., president of Besilu Stables. "Gulfstream is one of the world's top racing facilities, with a long tradition of supporting and promoting Florida's horse industry, a vital part of our economy."

Gulfstream president Tim Ritvo said, "We're delighted to partner with Mr. Leon and Besilu Stables. Mr. Leon is known as a business pioneer and philanthropist as well as someone who believes in Florida's Thoroughbred industry. We look forward to a productive partnership these next three years."

Leon spent 30 years breeding and showing Paso Fino horses before purchasing his first Thoroughbred in 2009. He owns a 650-acre farm in Ocala and has invested heavily in real estate in Marion County, the heart of Florida's horse country. Leon is the owner of two-time Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (gr. I) winner Royal Delta, a 2011 Eclipse Award champion purchased for $8.5 million in 2011.