By Carlos Medina
(Editor’s note: Journeyman Stud has owned its property northwest of Ocala, Fla., since 2007. A previous version of this article stated otherwise.)
The suit, filed Dec. 7 by Mellon United National Bank, names Simon, Foxtrotter Ranch, and Sez Who Thoroughbreds, which was established in 1999 and grew to include a leading breeding operation in New York. The Florida property is owned by a trust established by Simon and operates under the Foxtrotter Ranch name.
Soon after starting Sez Who in Ocala, Simon brought in several stallions, including multiple graded stakes winner Rizzi (by Afleet), and established a large broodmare band. In 2001, he bought a 265-acre farm in New York and eventually moved most of his breeding operation to that state to take advantage of higher purses and awards. The broodmare band grew to more than 350.
Rizzi was moved to New York and was later joined by other stallions, including Outofthebox (by Montbrook) and Prime Timber, (by Sultry Song), who was named New York’s freshman sire of the year in 2005. Simon’s operation continued to grow and would be named the leading breeder in New York from 2005-07, when horses produced at the farm earned well over $7 million in purses each year.
In 2006 Simon sold the 271-acre breeding facility at Sez Who in Florida to Charles Underbrink for more than $12.5 million.
The economic downturn took a heavy toll on the breeding industry, sending prices for Thoroughbreds tumbling. Simon, in an April article in The Business Review of Albany, said he could no longer operate.
“I had to shut it down,” Simon was quoted as saying in the article. “I was going bankrupt. I lost everything I own.”
The suit, which includes several homes on the Florida property, alleges that loans made to Foxtrotter Ranch, Sez Who Thoroughbreds, and Simon were extended a number of times before the decision to foreclose was made. The defaulted amount in the name of Foxtrotter totals more than $3.98 million, Sez Who defaulted on a $2.5 million loan, and Simon defaulted on a $1.6 million loan, according to the filing.
The suit also alleges that property taxes for the homes and land have not been paid since 2007.
Simon’s 265-acre New York property, which he bought for $3 million in 2001, is currently for sale and is listed for $2.95 million.