08/17/2006 11:00PM

Simms likes both halves of his entry


FORT ERIE, Ontario - Trainer John Simms believes he has a strong hand for Sunday's 6 1/2-furlong Mike Anderson Memorial, a $30,000 Cup race that will be run as a $10,000 starter allowance here at Fort Erie.

Simms sends out the entry of Fleet Storm and New Kid in Town in the Anderson Memorial, which drew a field of seven.

"Fleet Storm is a hard-knocking horse who always shows up," said Simms. "Given the right trip he will be right there."

Fleet Storm has won 3 of 13 starts this year, two at the Fort and one at Woodbine. He also finished second four times.

New Kid in Town was named Fort Erie's sprinter of the year in 2005 for winning five races at the meet, the only horse to win that many. He made 11 starts.

This year, New Kid in Town has not done as well. He has raced nine times, but didn't win until his last start, on Aug. 8. A race earlier, he finished second to Pants N Kisses, who might be the favorite in the Anderson.

"I think [New Kid in Town], right now, has reverted to his old form of last year," Simms said. "He's had ongoing foot problems that got

progressively worse. We took him to [blacksmith] John Staples at Woodbine and had the bar shoe customized. Now every time we run him, or when he needs to be shod, we have to ship him to Woodbine and back."

To Simms, the trouble is worth it.

"He's an honest horse that puts out every time," he said. "He would never be in my barn if he didn't have the problems that he's got because he would never be running for a tag. He's that type of a horse."

Simms said that Sparkman, trained by Bobby Lane, is his biggest concern in Sunday's race.

Sparkman, 5, was in Simms's stable until he was claimed away for $18,000 last September.

"Sparkman had problems down below" in his legs, said Simms. "He was high-maintenance, but definitely he's one that if you get him into the starting gate, he's all racehorse."

In his last start July 11, Sparkman defeated Russian Hand, who is also in the Anderson and could be a serious factor.

Lane said he couldn't find a race for Sparkman at Fort Erie since that win, and he didn't want to race him at Woodbine, where the dirt races are being run on a temporary track while a new Polytrack surface is being installed. But Sparkman has trained well, Lane said, and he expects to see his best on Sunday.