You can hear the joy and gratitude in Krista Cole-Simpson’s voice when she talks about watching her former star horse, Candy Overload, win the Forego Stakes at Turfway Park in Florence, Kentucky on February 4. Krista, you see, developed the Ontario-bred son of local stallion Reload from an unpolished yearling into a graded stakes-placed sprinter through his first three years of racing. Not only did Krista train the gelding, but she was also co-owner with breeders Denny Andrews and Sherry McLean’s Northern Dawn Stable. “I was so proud of him,” said Krista. “Candy Overload changed everything for me.”
Following the gelding’s second-place finish in the Bold Venture Stakes (G3) last August, Krista, Andrews and McLean sold him to the partnership of Gary Barber, Wachtel Stable and Leonard Schleiffer, who would watch their new runner win the Kennedy Road Stakes (G2) before his Turfway win.
But Krista is excited to start developing the next Candy Overload and the young woman is coming off her best season as a trainer from a purse earnings standpoint. She has more than 20 horses of various ages set to join her stable in 2023 including some young horses for her own Chrysalis Stable, which welcomes new partners.
Born in Prince Edward Island, Krista was horse crazy and took every opportunity to be around horses. In P.E.I., that meant Standardbreds at the nearby racetrack, but she also rode show jumpers. Her first thought when she finished high school was to study to become a veterinarian, so she collected a science degree from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia. It was a last-minute trip to Woodbine racetrack with a friend once year that changed the course of her passion. “My friend and I had been in Ottawa showing horses and she wanted to take a quick trip to Woodbine racetrack,” said Krista. “I had watched races from there but had never been. Once I got there, I never left. I fell in love with it.”
Krista groomed horses for the successful stable of Malcolm Pierce and his wife Sally and then concentrated on learning how to ride. She was tall, so being a Woodbine jockey was out, but after learning the riding ropes at Woodbine and in Florida during the winter, she took out her Quarter Horse jockey license in 2003. She won on her second career mount for Carol and Wayne Proctor and would go on to win 36 races in her few seasons of riding.
When her daughter Kalista DeSouza was born in 2008, Krista hung up the jockey tack but continued to work for various stables including that of top trainer Laurie Silvera. Krista was also friends with Sherry McLean, a long-time presence at the famed Gardiner Farms which had been managed by the late Dr. Mike Colterjohn. It was from Mike that Krista bought her first horse, the Philanthropist gelding she named Remember to Dream. She took out her trainer’s license in 2012, had a few starters that year, and then won her first race in 2013 with Remember to Dream.
In 2016, she took the $3,000 yearling purchase Princess Bullet and made her a stakes-placed winner for a small group of friends. Two years later, she won a race with the filly Humble Beginnings, owned by her daughter Kalista. It was that same year when she was offered a share of Candy Overload, who was from the first crop of Reload. The gelding was a winner and stakes placed in his second and third starts as a juvenile and has improved with maturity. Another son of Reload, Lil Bit Gangsta, has won nearly $65,000 for Krista and Denny.
Following a successful 2022 season in which her small stable won five races with 12 second-place finishes, Krista has lured new owners and purchased a few young horses for the new season.
Krista rides her horses at Northern Dawn each day throughout the winter and is helped at the barn by her husband Damian Simpson. One of the unraced horses she is excited about is the 3-year-old Clive Cross, named for the late Dave Cross, Jr., for new owners Mark Varey and Steve Doane of Manitoulin Island. Clive Cross is another son of Reload.
Krista, who credits Sherry and Denny for helping her career, is open to entertaining new owners who would like to own a share in a racehorse. And the way her stable has been growing and improving each year, she would be a good choice for any owner.