Simms Hopes to Continue 'Miracle' Meet in Debutante

Jun 21, 2012 Travers Manley

Trainer Garry Simms won last year’s running of the Debutante (GIII) at Churchill Downs with Flashy Lassie and he will attempt to repeat in the first graded stakes event in North America for 2-year-old fillies with Barry King and Dorothy Self’s Blueeyesintherein, the 5-2 morning-line favorite.

The Debutante, which was first run at Churchill Downs in 1895, is the featured race on Saturday’s program. It is scheduled as Race 10 with a post time of 5:25 p.m. (all times Eastern).

“She’s doing great,” Simms said. “I think I have the best horse in the race. I’ve never had to ask her to run, but she might have to run Saturday and then we’ll really find out what she’s got. I think she’s got a lot.”

Blueeyesintherein enters the Debutante off a 3 ¾-length victory at Churchill Downs in her career debut. She was ridden that day by Leandro Goncalves and he will have the mount in the Debuante when Blueeyesintherein breaks from post three in the field of ten.

Blueeyesintherein was the first winner for her sire, Magna Graduate, winner of the 2005 Clark Handicap (GII). A 10-time winner of more than $2.5 million, Magna Graduate started in Simms’ barn.

“It’s neat to train his first winner,” Simms said. “I picked him out at the yearling sale and ran him three times before we sold him to Elisabeth Alexander. We would be willing to sell (Blueeyesintherein), too, but the price has to be right.”

Blueeyesintherein’s victory is one of five for Simms this meet from just eight starters.

“I’m having a great meet,” Simms said. “I use the KISS method: Keep It Simple Stupid. I also have a great team. Everyone is in-sync with each other. It’s a well-oiled machine.”

The success this meet comes as a blessing for the 60-year-old Simms, who has been battling multiple myeloma for more than two years. He has had numerous rounds of chemotherapy and radiation treatments and two bone marrow transplants.

'I feel great,” Simms said. “There’s no cure for multiple myeloma and I’m in the final stage. It’s a miracle I’ve come this far to be this healthy. It’s a God thing. I’m taking it one day at a time. It’s what we all have to do. None of us are promised tomorrow.”

Simms said being around the horses has definitely helped with his morale and overall health.

“I love the horses,” Simms said. “I also bred some mares and have three foals by Magna Graduate on my farm. It might not have been the smartest financial move, but money can’t buy the joy I get from watching those babies.”

Two more horses of note in the Simms barn at Churchill Downs include Flashy Lassie and Circle Unbroken. Flashy Lassie is back in training at Churchill Downs after getting some time off following surgery to remove a few chips in her ankles. Simms is hopeful she will run before the end of the summer.

Travis Morgeson V LLC’s Circle Unbroken won his career debut last Sunday and could make his next start in the June 30 Bashford Manor (GIII) at Churchill Downs.

“The Bashford Manor is a possibility,” Simms said. “I don’t want to run him back in two weeks, but there aren’t many other spots to go. A lot of people have been trying to buy him, but he’s not for sale. We’re going to keep him and take our chances.”

BRIDGMOHAN REFLECTS ON 400 WINS AT CHURCHILL DOWNS – Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan made a mark in the Churchill Downs record books Saturday night when he became just the 18th rider in the history of the famous Louisville track to reach the 400-win milestone with his victory aboard John Oxley’s Lockout in the ninth race. 

Bridgmohan, who will turn 33 on Sunday, got his first win at Churchill Downs aboard Miss Matched in the Dogwood (GIII) on June 11, 2005.

“It feels good,” Bridgmohan said.  It’s quite an accomplishment. I’ve only been riding here for about six or seven years.”

Since Bridgmohan’s initial stakes victory, he has recorded 27 more beneath the Twin Spires, including the Clark Handicap (GI) aboard Giant Oak, who was promoted to first from second after Successful Dan was disqualified from first and placed third for interfering with Redding Colliery in the stretch.

“That was definitely the luckiest win of the 400,” Bridgmohan said with a grin.

Bridgmohan tied with Calvin Borel for the meet’s leading rider in the fall of 2006 and was hoping to regain the crown with the absence of Julien Leparoux, the leading rider at eight of the last 10 Churchill Downs meets. With 37 wins entering Thursday, Bridgmohan is 17 wins behind leading rider Corey Lanerie.

“I’ve had a solid meet,” Bridgmohan said. “I was hoping to be the leading rider, but Corey is just having a phenomenal meet.”

Bridgmohan said at the conclusion of the Spring Meet at Churchill Downs, he will take his tack to Ellis Park or Saratoga.         

LANERIE, ROMANS TOP STANDINGS WITH 12 RACING DAYS REMAINING Through 31 days of the 39-day Spring Meet, jockey Corey Lanerie has taken a commanding 17-win lead in the jockey standings while trainer Dale Romans and owners Richard and Karen Papiese’s Midwest Thoroughbreds Inc. are holding narrow leads in their respective categories at Churchill Downs.

Lanerie is seeking his first title at Churchill Downs, while Midwest Thoroughbreds are going for back-to-back Spring Meet titles. Romans, an eight-time leading trainer at Churchill Downs, is looking to top the standings for the first time since the 2006 Spring Meet.

Here is a look at the leaders entering Thursday’s action:

Meet-Leading Jockeys

1. Corey Lanerie (54-for-214, 25% win-percentage, $1,625,193 in earnings)

2. Shaun Bridgmohan (37-for-189, 20%, $1,508,087)

3. Calvin Borel (27-for-170, 16%, $740,836)

4. Leandro Goncalves (26-for-145, 18%, $859,097)

5. Miguel Mena (23-for-151, 15%, $905,204)

Meet-Leading Trainers

1. Dale Romans (13-for-80, 16%, $1,474,395)

2. Tom Amoss (12-for-38, 32%, $320,455)

2. Steve Asmussen (12-for-79, 15%, $788,315)

4. Bret Calhoun (10-for-34, 29%, $375,117)

4. Brad Cox (10-for-24, 42%, $166,963)

4. Dane Kobiskie (10-for-27, 37%, $183,702)

4. Mike Maker (10-for-55, 18%, $518,518)

Meet-Leading Owners

1. Richard and Karen Papiese’s Midwest Thoroughbreds Inc. (11-for-28, 39%, $191,920)

2. Paula Haughey’s PTK LLC (10-for-27, 37%, $183,702)

3. John Oxley (8-for-24, 33%, $328,686)

3. Ken and Sarah Ramsey (8-for-39, 21%, $327,771)

5. Billy, Donna and Justin Hays (5-for-45, 11%, $118,162)

BARN TALK – According to agent Doc Danner, jockey Victor Lebron suffered a concussion in a spill during Sunday’s sixth race at Churchill Downs and will be out of action for 10 days to two weeks. Danner said it’s possible Lebron could return to ride the final day or two of the Spring Meet, which concludes July 1. …

Patrick Johnson, the 11th all-time leading rider at Churchill Downs, recorded his first win beneath the Twin Spires since May 7, 2008 when he guided Humor’s Punch to victory in last Saturday night’s first race.

“It felt good to be back in the winner’s circle,” Johnson said. “It felt like home.”

It was the 466th time the 54-year-old native of Owensboro, Ky. visited the Churchill Downs winner’s circle.

“I still have a little gas left in the tank,” Johnson said. …

Pop-A-Top LLC’s homebred Always Here Too, third in the Eight Belles Presented by Xerox (GIII) on Kentucky Oaks Day, will return to the main track at Churchill Downs in Friday afternoon’s featured allowance race. A 3-year-old daughter of Include, Always Here Too will wear blinkers for the first time in her career in Friday’s fourth race, which has a scheduled post time of 4:18 p.m. …

The Paddock Garden musical stage on Friday will feature regional favorites Artie Dean Harris and Bourbontown during this week’s “Honkey Tonk Happy Hours.” Drink specials in the paddock garden area include $3 Stella Artois Draft Beer (16 oz.). …

Churchill Downs’ Sunday racing program on June 24 will feature another edition of Family Fun Days Presented by Kroger. Family Fun Days offer a very special Sunday for the entire family, with attractions that include HorseRacing Bingo, Junior Jockey Club activities and more. There also will be a special performance by the Mexico Lindo Dancers at 2:30 p.m.

Family Fun Days are scheduled from 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. in the Paddock Pavilion. More information is available at

WORKTAB Bluegrass Hall LLC’s homebred Optimizer, the lone horse to compete in all three legs of the 2012 Triple Crown, breezed four furlongs on the fast main track at Churchill Downs in :48.60 on Thursday morning for trainer Wayne Lukas. It was the fifth fastest work of 31 at the distance. …

Michael Bruder’s Guys Reward, winner of the Opening Verse on the turf at Churchill Downs on June 9, breezed four furlongs around the dogs of the firm Matt Winn Turf Course in :53.40 on Thursday morning for trainer Dale Romans. The work was the slowest of five at the distance. …

Klaravich Stables Inc. and William Lawrence’s Animal Spirits, who won the Bourbon (GIII) on the turf at Keeneland during his 2-year-old campaign last year, breezed four furlongs on the main track Thursday in :51.20 for trainer Al Stall Jr. The work ranked 26th of 31 at the distance. …

Michael Tabor and Mrs. John Magnier’s Battle Hardened, winner of the Sam F. Davis (GIII) in February, breezed a bullet four furlongs on the main track in :48 for trainer Eddie Kenneally. Battle Hardened has not raced since finishing sixth in the Tampa Bay Derby (GII) on March 10. …

Right Time Racing LLC’s Bouquet Booth, winner of the Delta Princess (GIII) during her 2-year-old season in 2010 and most recently a sixth-length winner of an allowance at Churchill Downs, breezed five furlongs in 1:01.20 on the main track for trainer Steve Margolis. The work ranked third of 23 at the distance. …

WEATHER Thursday: sunny, 93. Thursday night: mostly cloudy with a 40% chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms, 72. Friday: mostly sunny with a 10% chance of isolated showers and thunderstorms before 8 a.m., 88. Friday night: mostly clear, 69. Saturday: sunny, 89. Saturday night: partly cloudy, 70. Sunday: mostly sunny, 90. Sunday night: partly cloudy with a 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms, 70. Monday: mostly sunny, 86. Monday night: mostly clear, 63. Tuesday: sunny, 81. Tuesday night: mostly clear, 60. Wednesday: sunny, 85.   

Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 4, 2013, and its 2012 Spring Meet is scheduled for April 28-July 1. The track has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships a record eight times. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at

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