07/28/2006 12:00AM

Gibson County boosts his value

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The latest count of resident Florida stallions with first crops racing and who have sired winners stands at eight. There are three additional stallions with get who have raced and placed.

Co-leaders in the number of winners category are Gibson County, who stands at McKathan Farms, and Graeme Hall, based at Winding Oaks Farm. Gibson County, by In Excess out of Miss Gibson County, by Winrightt, has a perfect score. He has 13 registered foals, five started and all five have won, including the stakes winner Genuine Talent. Gibson County's $2,500 stud fee will likely be raised for the 2007 breeding season.

Graeme Hall, by Dehere out of Win Crafty Lady, by Crafty Prospector, has his five winners from a crop of 60 registered 2-year-olds.

Two first-crop stallions - Three Wonders of Hidden Point Farm and French Envoy of Rising Hill Farm - have four winners each. Three Wonders, by Storm Cat out of Wood of Binn, has a crop of 63 and 17 have started. French Envoy, by Deputy Minister out of Princess Mitterand, has a crop of 41 and nine have raced.

Texas honors ex-Florida couple

For a quarter century, through 1994, Texas-born and -raised Hilmer Schmidt and his wife, Faye, were ranked high on the list of esteemed couples with ties to Florida's Thoroughbred industry. The Schmidts made a significant impact on Ocala's philanthropic and business communities, and they were repeatedly cited for their contributions to both. The Schmidts' Ocala-based Indian Hill Farm also earned a special cachet in the horse industry.

This past week, the Schmidts, having moved back to Texas when Sam Houston Racetrack opened in 1994, were honored by the Texas Thoroughbred Association with the T.I. "Pops" Harkins Award for lifetime achievements.

For much of the time between the 1970's and the 1990's, Hilmer Schmidt's business endeavors kept him constantly going to and coming from his Houston-based wholesale fruit business. In Ocala, he invested in an auto supply business; he also invested in and became the first treasurer for the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company. He was an active member of the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders' and Owners' Association, serving as both a director and its president.

Faye Schmidt was no less a dynamo. She was elected president of the Florida Thorobred Fillies, a group that raises money for community charitable and philanthropic purposes. Upon returning to Houston, she founded the Texas Racing Fillies. This group does for greater Houston community what the Florida Thorobred Fillies does for Marion County.

Hilmer Schmidt is pushing 80 and his health is problematic. He has left a benevolent mark wherever he has been, and whatever he has done.

Four Roses succeeds Buckram Oak

The Florida-based operations of Buckram Oak Farm, the 180-acre training facility that used to be part of the 1,000-acre Quail Roost Farm of Ocala pioneers Elmer and Harriet Heubeck, will operate as Four Roses Thoroughbreds with owner Kassem Masri at the helm.

Mahmoud Fustok, who bought the property from the Heubeck Estate, had commercial plans for the training center. Fustok was killed by a car while jogging in Pompano Beach last February.

Masri, a close friend and colleague of the late Fustok, will concentrate on racing and will not rely upon resupply of his stable from homebreds. The Buckram Oak Farm mares are to be dispersed at the fall bloodstock sales.

* Tom Ventura, general manager and sales director for the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company, said that the catalogs for the five-day yearling sale, which begins on Aug. 21, are being delivered. According to Ventura, there are 1,551 yearlings cataloged for the sale, 53 more than a year ago.