VERO BEACH — Palema Trotting, a 58-acre training facility in Vero Beach, hopes to attract young, up and coming Standardbred breed trotting horses from throughout Canada and the United States when its stables open in late October.
Built by Swedish businessman and top Standardbred trotting horse breeder Karl-Erik Bender, Palema Trotting will open with room for 92 horses, with 20 paddocks, two training tracks, a 900-meter straight track for speed and strength training and a 1,000-meter oval track for racing experience.
The facility can be seen east of 66th Avenue and south of 58th Street.
“If needed, there is room to expand for more horses, but we want to get horses in as soon as possible so we are starting with room for 92,” said manager Ulf Amudson. “We also hope to build an 11- or 12-room dormitory to house visiting trainers, horse owners and even members of the public interested in being around the horses, but that probably won’t happen until next year.
“We are also interested in bringing in some local riding horses that would be here year round.”
Bender decided to build the training facility in Vero Beach because, according to Amudson, he and his family already have a vacation home on the island.
When they came across the property, which had been used for riding horses, Bender thought it would be a good way to support the family’s interests in trotting horses while staying in Florida for the winter.
Headquartered in Edsvara, Sweden, Bender’s Stable and Stud Palema is considered one of the most successful racing stables in Europe and includes Gidde Palema, two-time runner-up for Swedish Horse of the Year and son of Alf Palema, winner of the prestigious Hambletonian in 1992.
“This is a brand-new, fresh facility with everything a trainer could want,” Amudson added. “We already have several trainers and their horses ready to come in when we open. Horses will be here from October to April to train before heading back up north.”