02/26/2012 7:02PM

Gulfstream: Simmard noses out Newsdad in Mac Diarmida

Tom Keyser
Simmard (foreground) dug in when challenged by Newsdad to win the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - After running one mile and three furlongs, only inches separated the winner Simmard from the hard-luck runner-up Newsdad at the wire in Sunday’s Grade 2, $150,000 Mac Diarmida at Gulfstream Park.

Simmard, who has raced in the shadow of his older stablemate Musketier the past several years, benefited from a flawless ride by the meet’s leading jockey, Javier Castellano. Simmard eased off the early leaders in the run to the second turn, rallied three wide to challenge for command after a mile, poked his head in front near the quarter pole, then withstood Newsdad through the final furlong.

Newsdad also got a perfect trip under Julien Leparoux, saving ground while well placed for nearly a mile before easing out to launch his bid on the final turn. Newsdad drew alongside Simmard at mid-stretch but could not get past the determined winner in the final strides.

Musketier, who defeat Simmard by a half-length in Calder’s Grade 2 W.L. McKnight in the pair’s 2011 finale, rallied mildly along the rail to finish a well beaten third , 5 3/4 lengths behind Newsdad.

Simmard, a 7-year-old gelded son of Dixieland Band, is owned by his breeders, Haras Santa Maria de Araras, and trained by Roger Attfield. He completed 11 furlongs in 2:11.71 seconds, less than a second off the course record, and paid $10.60

“He doesn’t have the big turn of foot that the gray horse [Musketier] does, so I was happy to see that he was involved early,” said Attfield. “I think he’s been getting too far out of it early. The horse has been doing great. He’s a horse that’s developed really late in his career. He’s been knocking on the door in so many races, I knew he’d have to win a stakes eventually.”