The entire Florida HBPA Board of Directors was shocked and saddened when they were read Sam Gordon’s letter of resignation at Thursday’s meeting. Mr. Gordon stated in his letter of resignation that he was retiring due to “personal reasons.” Sammy was elected to the FHBPA Board of Directors in 2001 and served as its President the last six and a half (6 ½) years.
Sam was a graduate of the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and is presently the CEO of West Indies Tropical Sales Company. He was the CEO of Del Monte Fresh Produce. In 2006 the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners honored him with their Bruce Campbell award for distinguished service to the thoroughbred industry and in 2010 he was awarded the FHBPA’s Person of the Year Award.
Sammy was known as a hard-nosed negotiator, and it was apparent in the purse and slots contracts he helped negotiate for Florida horsemen. His slots contracts give horsemen some of the best slot percentages from gross revenues to purses in the country with options for them to rise further in the future.
Owner Phil Combest moved from his position as First Vice President to fill Mr. Gordon’s former position as President. Mr. Combest stated, “Sam provided the FHBPA with outstanding leadership during an extremely critical period in our history. Speaking on behalf of the Board of Directors and our entire membership, we’re all sorry to see Sam go and wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”
Trainer Barry Rose moves up to be the First Vice President and owner Teresa Palmer becomes the Second Vice President. Owner Chester Bishop will fill out the remainder of Mr. Gordon’s three year term.
Long-time FHBPA Executive Director, Kent Stirling, said, “Sammy was a unique individual who could be screaming at you one minute and telling you a joke the next. He managed to always bring out the best in everybody, but it was becoming apparent recently that the pressures of the job were beginning to wear him down. He has been like a second father to me.”