Horse Owner Tami Bobo Chats Simplification’s Chances in Saturday’s Fountain of Youth

The Life
Thoroughbred owner Tami Bobo celebrates with Simplification and jockey Javier Castellano at Gulfstream Park after the colt won the Mucho Macho Man Stakes on Jan. 1. (Ryan Thompson/Coglianese Photo)

Tom Pedulla is interviewing prominent owners, trainers and jockeys as they travel the Road to the 148th Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve on May 7 at Churchill Downs.

Tami Bobo, 48, is featured this week. Although she entered the Thoroughbred racing industry only 11 years ago after devoting the early part of her career to varied interests that included Quarter-Horses and website development, Bobo will have two rooting interests in the $400,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

The Ocala-based Bobo and Fernando de Jesus, her husband, operate First Finds, a weanling to yearling pinhooking operation. She owns Florida-bred Simplification, commanding winner of the one-mile Mucho Macho Man Stakes at Gulfstream and runner-up in the Holy Bull Stakes for trainer Antonio Sano. He will be ridden by Jose Ortiz.

In addition, Bobo bred Gentry FarmsA.P.’s Secret, conditioned by Saffie Joseph, Jr. A.P.’s Secret can join the Derby trail if he performs well in the first stiff test of his career. Tyler Gaffalione will be aboard A.P.’s Secret.

The 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth attracted a field of 12. It will award Derby qualifying points to the top four finishers on a 50-20-10-5 basis.

Bobo participated in a question-and-answer session conducted on behalf of America’s Best Racing: 

PEDULLA: I read a bit about your background. I see that, after your parents divorced, you went on your own at age 16.

BOBO: My mother went south, my father went north and I just went out on my own, doing odd jobs to feed myself.

Television schedule

Thursday, March 3: post time varies on TVG

Friday, March 4: 3 p.m.-6:30 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, March 5: 4 p.m.-6 p.m. on CNBC 4:30 p.m.-7 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, March 6: 3 p.m.-6:30 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on TVG

PEDULLA: You became a single mother at 17. Was that a scary time in your life?

BOBO: I think all of us as young people are scared of change and scared of the world, to be honest. I had to grow up fast. I had to figure it out on my own. Fortunately, I was able to do that and I feel very blessed with my career.

PEDULLA: What is your involvement in the Thoroughbred industry?

BOBO: This is my second horse, possibly, for the Derby (after 2012 Florida Derby winner Take Charge Indy, the first Thoroughbred she bought). I’ve had multiple graded stakes winners and Grade 1 winners. I’m a small boutique operation. We’re not a big commercial  operation. We do a small number and we’re hands on with that number. We have 28 yearlings that will be pinhooked (racehorse prospects purchased with the intention of reselling). We have 38 2-year-olds going to the 2-year-old sales.

PEDULLA: How did you wind up keeping Simplification?

BOBO: He was originally bought for a weanling-to-yearling pinhook. He didn’t vet perfectly with some sesamoiditis, so we opted to keep him and run.

PEDULLA: How did Simplification get over his physical issues?

BOBO: It was just a case of sesamoiditis and that is very typical of young horses. In my opinion, it’s growing pains. They are all going to go through some form of sesamoiditis as they develop as young horses. At the time when he was X-rayed to be sold, he had more sesamoiditis than one might like going into a sale. It just becomes a reason, in my opinion, for people to discount horses.

PEDULLA: May I ask you to talk about the job Antonio Sano is doing in training Simplification?

BOBO: Antonio is like family to us. He calls me his sister. We’ve worked with him for years now. Antonio has been great to us. It’s an amazing situation to be where we are today with this horse and for Antonio to be training him. I couldn’t be more blessed than to have this horse with him and for us to be on this journey together.

PEDULLA: Is Simplification a horse that is getting better and better with each start?

BOBO: He is a horse that is getting better and better. He is a very sound horse. Being a horse that had sesamoiditis, the way he’s breezed and the bullet works he’s put in just shows his soundness. 

Antonio Sano (Eclipse Sportswire)

PEDULLA: Simplification is a son of Not This Time. I am sure this is a question for every 3-year-old, but can he get the Derby distance?

BOBO: I think in his last start he showed us, for sure, he can get the distance. He was basically still standing in the gates when they opened and to gain the ground that he did shows he can get distance. With Candy Ride on the dam’s side, that pedigree is proven to have two turns in it. A lot of horses run to their pedigree.

PEDULLA: What are your chances in the Fountain of Youth?

BOBO: I think the horse has a great shot. I don’t want to boast. I feel very blessed to have this horse and be part of his career. I just hope we have a good start. In my opinion, this is a real racehorse. This is a very talented colt.

PEDULLA: Are you getting offers for Simplification now? 

BOBO: We’ve had several offers on Simplification. At this point, we’re looking forward to going on and seeing where we end up. We’re always open for discussion, but we certainly feel like God has a plan and the plan is to maybe go on and make it to the Derby.

newsletter sign-up

Stay up-to-date with the best from America's Best Racing!