09/24/2010 3:27PM

Simington hopes slim lead over Eramia holds up

Lou Hodges Jr.
Don Simington, winning the Donnie Wilhite Memorial last month at Louisiana Downs, is the meet's leading rider heading into the final three cards of the season.

BOSSIER CITY, La. – Don Simington will be watching his back all afternoon Sunday during the final card of the Louisiana Downs meet. He is closing in on his third consecutive local riding title, but knows it will be a fight to the finish with second-leading rider Richard Eramia.

“We’ve got three days and I’m six in front, but I don’t feel comfortable yet,” Simington, 47, said during morning training hours Friday. “It’s been a great battle with Richard. I’ve caught him a couple of times, then he’s passed me.

“I know we’re both riding live horses this weekend. I’ve been able to reel off a couple of those four, five-win days, and I know he’s capable of doing the same. He’s done it here. So, it’s not over until Sunday evening.”

Simington through Thursday led the standings with 123 wins, while his mounts have earned a meet-best $1,773,768. He said the meet has been his best ever at Louisiana Downs, and part of that success has been driven by the business he has done with leading trainer Tony Richey.

“He fits my horses well,” Richey said. “He’s patient, and I’ve got a lot of horses that we teach to be patient. And he gets on them. He works a lot of horses for me, so he knows the horses on top of that.”

Simington has also long been a regular aboard horses trained by Jerry Cart, Jerry Hardin, and Allen Milligan. But his business has expanded even more this meet, as Simington has started to team more often with such trainers as Joe Duhon, Eric Heitzmann, and Jim Hodges.

The success has been particularly sweet, because Simington was forced to miss the first week of the meet due to injury. He had broken his collar bone the final night of the Delta Downs meet in March.

Simington will head back to Delta when that meet opens Oct. 27. For now, though, he will try to contain Eramia and add to his Louisiana Downs win total. He is the track’s third all-time leading rider behind retired jockey Ronald Ardoin, who is now his agent. Ardoin won 2,848 races at Louisiana Downs, while Simington is at 1,403. Retired jockey Larry Snyder is second in Louisiana Downs wins with 1,696.

Simington is a career winner of 2,825 races.

Former local outrider to be honored

Shawn Brasseaux, the Churchill Downs outrider who died last week at the age of 42, will be honored here Sunday. In a ceremony that will begin at noon, local outrider Laura Hollowoa will lead a post parade of those who pony horses. They will then place a wreath around a large photo of Brasseaux that will be situated in the infield. Brasseaux was a longtime outrider at Louisiana Downs.

“I out-rode with him for seven, eight years” said Hollowoa, who was fighting tears Friday. “And he was here way before me.”

Brasseaux was stricken with a sudden blood infection. This year, he led Super Saver back to the winner’s circle following the horse’s victory in the Kentucky Derby.

Yearling sale on Monday

The Breeders Sales Company of Louisiana has cataloged 350 yearlings to its annual auction that will be held Monday at the Ike Hamilton Expo Center in West Monroe, La. The sale will begin at 10 a.m. Central.

A host of stallions are represented by offspring, including Artie Schiller, Bellamy Road, Flatter, Flower Alley, Macho Uno, Sharp Humor, Purim, and Wildcat Shoes, the sire of the $111,000 sales-topper in last month’s Fasig-Tipton Texas.

Among the consignors to the sale are Patricia Clark, Clear Creek Stud, Elite Thoroughbreds, Elysian Bloodstock, Inside Move, Legacy Bloodstock, and Red River Farm.

The auction can be viewed webcast at www.louisianabred.com.

Roberts will compete in Parx rider challenge

Jockey Anna Roberts will be heading to Philadelphia next weekend to compete in the “Female Rider Challenge” at Parx Racing. The event will be held on Oct. 2 and will be part of a Ladies Day at the track tied to the Grade 2, $750,000 Fitz Dixon Cotillion. Roberts said later this year she will be based at Fair Grounds, which opens on Thanksgiving.

Roberts, who came into the meet an apprentice and leaves a journeyman, had won 21 races through Thursday to rank 12th in the standings at Louisiana Downs.

◗ Superior Storm, the near-millionaire Louisiana-bred who is back working after getting the summer off, could make her comeback at Delta Downs in the $100,000 Magnolia on Nov. 5, said her trainer, Rick Jackson. Star Guitar, the reigning Louisiana-bred horse of the year, is scheduled to run on the same card, according to his trainer, Al Stall. He is being pointed for the $100,000 Gold Cup.

◗ My Star Runner, who is a candidate for the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Sprint this winter at Fair Grounds, heads the featured ninth race, an optional $20,000 claimer for Louisiana-breds at 6 1/2 furlongs. He won a first-level allowance in his third career start last out, with a Beyer Figure of 91.

◗ Remember Me, a racehorse rescue charity headed by Louisiana Downs-based horsemen Dallas and Donna Keen, held an open house last week at Louisiana Downs to raise awareness for the organization. To adopt or donate, learn more at www.teamkeen.com