08/04/2005 11:00PM

Simms has numbers in Valliere


FORT ERIE, Ontario - Three of the nine runners entered for the six-furlong Don Valliere Memorial Cup at Fort Erie Sunday are trained by John Simms.

The Don Valliere Memorial is the first of eight races in the Cup series, and each race has a purse of $30,000. The series, which is restricted to runners who have had two starts at the current meet, ends on Labor Day, Sept. 5, with the doubleheader of the Puss n Boots and Centre Stage Anne.

The best of the Simms trio is Disbelief, a winner of four sprints this year. The other two horses in the entry are Sparkman, a winner of his last three races at the Fort, and New Kid in Town, who on Tuesday scored a 5 3/4-length win over open $5,000 claimers in wire-to-wire fashion.

"Sparkman is sharp right now," said Simms. "He's training well and full of confidence. He's a bad-footed animal, that's his problem - chronic cracked heels and such. But Danks has him real good right now," he said, referring to assistant trainer Tom Danks.

Simms said only two of his runners are likely to get to the starting gate, and it appears New Kid in Town is one of them.

"I don't want to run Disbelief and Sparkman against one another," he said, adding that he does have Disbelief nominated for the second Cup race, the 1 1/16-mile Peace Bridge Cup on Aug. 14.

"We're kind of rushing back with New Kid, but maybe he's got the speed to help Sparkman or Disbelief along," he said. "It was a cakewalk for him on Tuesday, and he came out of it real good."

Simms said he believes that without Disbelief in the race, Angel's Wisdom would be the horse to beat.

Trainer Armand Concessi said he is very pleased with Angel's Wisdom's last race, when he used stalking tactics before scoring by 2 1/2 lengths. Angel's Wisdom usually duels from the outset, which may explain why he has only three wins and 12 seconds.

"We've been teaching him to relax a little bit more," said Concessi. "He's never really won going wire to wire, except one time at five furlongs."

Russian Hand, who was disqualified from first in his last start, should be charging at the end. In two other starts this year, Russian Hand rallied for a win and a fast-closing second.