01/06/2011 12:49PM

Simon, Sez Who Thoroughbred facing foreclusure

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Richard Simon and his Sez Who Thoroughbred operation, a Florida operation that expanded to become a leading New York breeder in the last decade, are facing foreclosure on an 86-acre property near Ocala, Fla., the Ocala Star-Banner reported Wednesday.

The Sez Who operation closed in 2009, but foreclosure documents that Mellon United Bank filed Dec. 7 in Florida name Sez Who, Simon, and Simon’s Foxtrotter Ranch in alleged loan defaults totaling more than $8.1 million.

Simon launched Sez Who in Florida in 1999 and expanded into New York in 2001 with the purchase of about 265 acres near Saratoga Springs. Sez Who developed a large breeding program there and was New York’s leading breeder from 2005-2007. Sez Who also was North America’s second-ranked breeder by purse earnings in 2006 and 2007. At its height, the Sez Who program had almost 1,000 horses, including such stallions as Rizzi, who moved from Florida to New York along with most of Simon’s other breeding stock.

Simon sold Sez Who’s Ocala breeding farm, covering about 270 acres, to Charles Underbrink in 2006 but through a trust retained the 86-acre farm, Ocala Foxtrotter Ranch, in Marion County.

But the large program was costly, even with its successes, and the bloodstock market’s collapse and a lengthy delay in long-anticipated slots revenue did not help. In 2009, Simon dissolved the company. The New York farm is listed for sale with a $2.95 million price.

In April, Simon told The Business Review in Albany, N.Y., “I had to shut it down. I was going bankrupt. I lost everything I own.”