After earning a marketing degree at Iowa State, managing a near-by restaurant for three years and driving at the Prairie Meadows meetings while still going to school full-time, young Brandon Simpson decided to give the Chicago driver circuit a try.
About a year later the result has been had been more than what Brandon could have hoped for.
hrough November 13 the son of long-time Prairie-State trainer Dirk Simpson and the grandson of Illinois Hall of Famer Clay Simpson listed eighth in the combined (Maywood-Balmoral-Hawthorne) driver standings with 157 dash winners.
It’s been an amazing year for me,” said the 26-year-old Simpson.
“I’ve been really happy on what I’ve been able to accomplish for my first year on the Chicago circuit. I feel welcome. I feel I’ve been given a lot of opportunities and I really appreciate that.
"You need to have those opportunities. And when people give you those chances, you have to make the most of it. And then you have to build on those good relations if you want to have longevity in this business.”
randon’s biggest victories this year came when he steered Mystical Banker to his upset win in the June Cardinal Final at Balmoral and when he guided Before He Cheats to his triumph in a division of The Galt, overcoming the eight-hole at Maywood Park last month.
randon has had over 1840 drives this season, almost 200 more than his combined total from 1998 through 2006. While his horses won $730,238 during that time frame, in 2007 Simpson has already gone over $1.3 million in money won with a month and a half left in the season.
This is a very strong driver colony in Chicago even with guys like Timmy (Tetrick), Tony (Morgan) and Andy (Miller) leaving,” continued the native of Olney, IL.
“Every night you’re facing a very tough competitive bunch of drivers. For a young driver like me I know I have to wait in line to get some of the better drives and that’s o.k. I’m gaining experience. I hope I can keep working hard and keep having the type of years like this one.”
Mike Paradise, Maywood Park