05/15/2009 12:00AM

Simms quite pleased with his choice of spring venue


FORT ERIE, Ontario - Trainer John Simms, who spent the winter at Tampa Bay Downs, has 18 stalls here but hopes to expand that number as the season progresses.

Off to a good start with three wins and a place in four starts, Simms was looking forward to the upcoming weeks at the Fort.

"I have been to a number of tracks over the years and believe that Fort Erie has the best surface for the Thoroughbred," said Simms.

"You'll find many an older horse enjoying a lengthy racing career at the Fort, and that is because the surface is so very kind."

Simms, like many other trainers who have competed at the Fort, was undecided on where to race this spring as the uncertainty of a Fort Erie meet continued into March.

"My thoughts ranged from stalls at Presque Isle to a partial fire sale, but as soon as the good news on the upcoming season at the Fort arrived there was no doubt where I would be headed," said Simms.

"My home is in this town and I am very comfortable with the racing here. This is my base, and from here I can also send selected runners down the road to Woodbine."

Simms was also happy to be back on a surface that allows toe-grabs. In previous years Tampa had allowed the shoes, but this winter it changed its policy and denied their use.

Three straight for winning combination

Jockey Kris Robinson and trainer Robert Johnson teamed up for three wins in a row on Tuesday, taking the third through fifth races.

Those wins took Johnson to the top of the trainer standings with six scores, while Robinson boosted his total of wins to five and now sits just back of leaders Sunny Singh and Rui Pimentel, both with seven wins to date.

Johnson's Krz n' Flashy, last year's best two-furlong sprinter at the Fort, went right back to work in the first dash of the year on Tuesday, easily turning back his rivals in a gate-to wire-performance under Robinson.

Edwards at new level

Apprentice jockey Eric Edwards lost half of his 10-pound weight allowance on Tuesday when he scored his fifth win with longshot Belfast Dancer ($37.70) in the day's final race.

Edwards took his mount to the lead and then held off the Simms-trained stretch-runner Disbelief to prevail and prevent Simms from having a 4 for 4 record at the meet.