06/30/2012 8:35PM

Churchill Downs: Circle Unbroken completes sweep of 2-year-old stakes for Simms

Reed Palmer Photography/Churchill Downs
Circle Unbroken, ridden by Jon Court, captures the Bashford Manor for 2-year-olds.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Garry Simms is leaving quite a legacy. Before Saturday, only four trainers in the long  history of Churchill Downs had won the track’s major spring stakes for 2-year-olds, the Debutante and the Bashford Manor, in the same year.

Make that five.

Simms, 60, joined that elite crowd on a sultry night when Circle Unbroken, getting a terrific ride from Jon Court, drove through a slight opening in midstretch to outfinish late-closing Positively to win the 111th running of the Grade 3, $109,800 Bashford Manor Stakes.

Circle Unbroken returned $6.80 as second choice in a field of eight colts after finishing the six-furlong distance in 1:11.21 over a fast track. Positively was a length behind the winner and another 1 1/4 lengths before Special Jo, with Hightail fourth by another length. The four others were well behind.

“I don’t know what to say,” said Simms, who 2 1/2 years ago was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an incurable cancer. “This one’s from God. It’s a gift, it really is.”

Circle Unbroken, by Broken Vow, is owned by Travis Morgeson V LLC, is named for the sizable group that encompasses the family, friends, and supporters of Simms, who still looks remarkably healthy despite his illness. Just as when Simms sent out Blueeyesintherein to win the June 23 Debutante, the winner’s circle was packed with people and emotion as Simms largely deferred to his support group while maintaining a big smile.

“Unbelievable,” said Simms.

Circle Unbroken, a winner of his lone prior start, broke with the pack from post 2 and tracked the leaders from a comfortable inside spot, with Court making his move after finding a narrow opening in midstretch. Positively, well back early, had the most momentum on the outside, but Circle Unbroken simply outsprinted him in the final 100 yards.

An objection by Ramon Vazquez, the rider of Hightail, against the top two finishers for alleged interference in deep stretch was not allowed.