08/24/2012 12:32PM

Kentucky notes: Simms 2-year-olds getting a break, will return next year

Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography
Circle Unbroken is being rested after having a small ankle chip removed.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – In the past, Garry Simms might have said, “Sold.” But circumstances being what they are, Simms and his clients are holding tight to their pair of prized 2-year-olds with hopes of making a major splash next spring in the classic races at their hometown track of Churchill Downs.

Simms recently turned out Blueeyesintherein and Circle Unbroken to the Lacroix Training Center, a rehabilitation facility in nearby LaGrange, Ky., and said he likely will take them to Palm Meadows in south Florida for the winter. Both 2-year-olds have minor ailments that led Simms to stop on them for the fall.

“We’ve done real well selling before, and if things were different, maybe we’d do it with these horses, too,” said Simms, naming Magna Graduate, who went on to earn more than $2.5 million as one of the standouts he sold at a young age. “But all the people involved have enough money right now, and there’s the tax implications and all that. There are quite a few partners, and it gets pretty complicated. So we’ve decided we’re just going to hold onto these two and roll the dice.”

Both of the Simms horses were shipped to Mountaineer Park in West Virginia earlier this month. Circle Unbroken, winner of the Bashford Manor at Churchill in late June, finished second as an odds-on favorite to Maybe So in the Mountaineer Juvenile, while Blueeyesintherein, winner of the Debutante Stakes, never made it to the starting gate as the heavy program favorite for the Mountaineer Juvenile Fillies. Both are owned by partnerships managed by northern Kentucky attorney Burr Travis.

Simms said Circle Unbroken had recent surgery to have a “tiny flake” removed from a front ankle, while Blueeyesintherein had a pulled muscle in her hind end that caused her to go temporarily lame during her trip to West Virginia.

“The colt, he probably didn’t even notice the chip, it was that small,” said Simms. “It might’ve even dissolved on its own. Both horses are out at Lacroix doing some water therapy and living the high life.

Simms, 60, has been suffering for nearly three years from multiple myeloma but said he feels well enough to travel to Florida for the winter. “The doctors say it’s not getting any better but it’s also not progressing,” he said. “I put on eight pounds in the last month and I’m back up to 201. As long as I keep feeling this good, I imagine we’ll go to Florida.”

Meanwhile, Maybe So also is through for the year, according to trainer Al Stall Jr. The colt sustained a back injury in his recent training at Keeneland and also is expected to make a full recovery in time to launch a 3-year-old campaign.

Lanerie, Court suspended

The two leading jockeys at the current meet at Ellis Park in Henderson, Ky., both will be absent Sunday as they serve three-day suspensions stemming from recent infractions.

Corey Lanerie will be off Sunday and next Friday and Saturday (Aug. 31-Sept. 1) after being penalized for his ride on Indian Clarkie, the runner-up before being disqualified in an Aug. 17 maiden race.

The last day of Jon Court’s suspension is Sunday. His penalty resulted from the first race Aug. 11 when Embellished Gold was disqualified from first to second.

Lanerie led Court by a 21-20 count entering Friday action. Jon Court is being replaced on a couple of his Sunday mounts by his son, Aaron, a 10-pound apprentice seeking his first career win.

* The ageless wonder, R.A. “Cowboy” Jones, has a mount on the Sunday card at Ellis: Mambo’s Song in the second race. Jones, 69, still works primarily as an exercise rider. He also was scheduled to ride Miss Bocephus in the seventh race Friday.

Jones, who began his riding career in 1959, was supposed to retire in 2007, and Ellis even held a day in his honor. But he has continued to ride the occasional race, with his last victory coming at Turfway Park in September 2004, a losing streak encompassing 58 races into this weekend.

* Trainer John Hancock was hoping to have a big meet at Ellis, his hometown track, but things just haven’t worked out that way. Hancock, 53, was 0 for 30 before winning the first race Friday with Madison Street ($18.60). His next five entries are all for Sunday.
“You can cancel that duck,” said Hancock, who runs more 2-year-olds than anything else. “I think I’m going to win another one Sunday. This is the toughest 2-year-old meet I’ve ever seen here, and I’ve been in the same barn since I was 6. There’ll be some 2-year-olds to come out of this meet that’ll be somebody, you just watch.”

* The highlight of a maiden-laden nine-race Sunday card at Ellis is a $33,000 allowance that drew an oversubscribed field of fillies and mares. The five-furlong turf race goes as the seventh on a card that starts at the usual 12:50 p.m. Central.