By Tammy A. Gantt

OCALA, FL—Florida Thoroughbred Charities announced a generous pledge of $112,899.74 to support the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation Second Chances Farm at the Lowell Correctional Institution made by Brandon and Diannah Perry in honor of Brandon’s mother, Cathy D. Perry.

“When Brandon first called me about this, I was obviously thrilled,” former Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association President Phil Matthews, DVM said. “But I must say, I wasn’t surprised that they chose Florida Thoroughbred Charities for the fact Brandon and Diannah are consummate horse people. It’s a very generous gift and a real shot in the arm to FTC. We couldn’t be more pleased or grateful.”

“The FTBOA is very grateful and honored that the Perry’s chose us to make such a meaningful gift to,” FTBOA President George Isaacs said. “This allows the Florida Thoroughbred Charities to continue to quietly make an impact throughout the equine community.”

The Perry family has been involved with Quarter Horses, Appaloosas and Paint show horses and later became involved in the Thoroughbred industry. They have been dedicated to honoring Cathy’s memory with donations to equine charities and thoroughbred retirement programs close to their heart. Their history and success in the horse racing world runs deep and their donation to the retirement farm will help change the lives of the women working with the horses there.

As a couple, the Perrys Thoroughbred bloodstock story began in 2000 with the purchase of a 50-acre portion of the former Classic Acres in Ocala. Having decades of diverse equine industry experience in all aspects of operations, they founded and operated Paragon Farms, a commercial Thoroughbred Nursery.

In 2003, expansion took them to Kentucky, with the purchase of Newgate Stud in Lexington. Newgate Stud, was a 210-plus acre, first-class, prime farmland facility and division of a global operation owned by HRH Saudi Prince Fahd Salman, a world-leading breeder and owner.

In Kentucky, the Perrys success in the Thoroughbred racing and breeding industry came through the development of private and syndicated Thoroughbred acquisition portfolios. They bought, sold and brokered Thoroughbreds worth millions of dollars each year that also competed at the pinnacle of the industry in Triple Crown and Breeders Cup races. Thus, catching the keen eye of Thoroughbred enthusiast and Irish billionaire businessman, Eamon Cleary.

In 2009, the Perrys sold Paragon Farms to Cleary and the inception of Clearsky Farm developed shortly afterwards, with headquarters currently occupying the Russell Cave Road location. For more than two years, working alongside Mr. Cleary, the Perry’s performed bloodstock advisory, management and operational duties, as well as the procurement of a bloodstock portfolio that resulted in several notable champion race horses and numerous graded stakes winners. Additionally, the Perry’s managed and sourced the expansion and redevelopment of Clearsky’s land holdings making it one of the finest breeding facilities in Kentucky.

Brandon and Diannah also owned and founded Vision Racing LLC and Vision Sales LLC in Lexington.

Brandon’s mother Cathy, who passed away in 2020, was a successful entrepreneur and businesswoman. She was an engaged and supportive resident of the Ocala community since her arrival in 1994. Cathy, and her former husband Roger, founded Weisheimer Cos., operator of the Petzazz pet superstore chain, which later was sold to PetSmart in the early 1990s. Subsequent to the sale of her company, Cathy moved to Ocala and became an important contributor to the vibrant growth of the community, often alongside Connie Brown, her most dear friend, and her only son Brandon.

“The FTBOA and our charitable arm, FTC, is proud of the role we play with this unique thoroughbred retirement farm – the only female program in the country,” FTBOA CEO Lonny Powell said. “The FTBOA believes the care and support of retired Thoroughbreds is a common-sense responsibility shared by all who participate in the racing and breeding industry. What makes this particular program different at Lowell, it cares for and heals people as well as horses. That is an awesome combination, and this generous donation will help continue those life-changing efforts.”

To understand the societal impact of the Second Chances TRF program from a community perspective, read “The Ladies of Lowell” by George Weir here.

To learn more about the farm program, click here.  To discuss a donation, sponsorship or fundraiser, contact Tammy A. Gantt, Executive Director, at 352-629-2160 or e-mail