06/20/2005 11:00PM

Simon out to put lean years behind

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Battle Won, here winning the Churchill Downs Handicap, is a top Aristides contender.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - If a trainer has just one client with a lot of horses, his business can be highly prosperous and relatively simple, assuming he and the client have a workable and long-lasting relationship.

This all-your-eggs-in-one-basket way of conducting business often represents a marked contrast to the dealings of a trainer with a public stable. A trainer with multiple clients finds himself doing the same kind of chores over and over, namely the communicating of everyday details to different clients.

Chuck Simon has lived in both worlds. When he first began training in 1999, following five years as an assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Allen Jerkens, Simon trained exclusively for Ken and Sarah Ramsey, the Kentucky couple whose powerhouse stable won the 2004 Eclipse Award as top owner.

But Simon and Ramsey had a falling-out after about two years, and Simon soon found himself looking to rebuild from the ground up. Finally, after about three years, he is on the verge of being right where he wants to be. With nearly 30 horses under his care, his business is beginning to flourish again, and he is even an occasional player in major races again.

Saturday at Churchill Downs, Simon will lead over Battle Won as a leading contender for the Grade 3 Aristides Breeders' Cup Handicap, a six-furlong race that will be the first for the gelding since he won the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Handicap on the May 7 Kentucky Derby undercard.

"It has been a lengthy process, getting the right clients and the right horses," said Simon, 36. "I've got some real nice 2-year-olds right now, and some of our better horses like Battle Won, Seeking Answers, Pirate King, and Brilliant Son are doing good. It's been a struggle at times, but things are finally starting to look up."

Battle Won, owned by Jay Manoogian, prepped for the $150,000 Aristides by working a half-mile Tuesday in a bullet 48.40 seconds over a firm Churchill turf course. Mike Smith will get the mount Saturday from Ramon Dominguez, who rode Battle Won in the CD 'Cap.

"I asked Ramon to ride the horse back, but he had problems arranging his travel to be here again," said Simon.

Simon, who next month will take "about 20" horses to the Saratoga meet in his hometown of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., said if Battle Won runs well Saturday, the gelding probably would run next in the Tom Fool at Belmont or Bing Crosby at Del Mar, with the Grade 1 Forego at Saratoga on Sept. 3 being the main summer goal.

About six or seven older horses are expected for the Aristides, the lone stakes to be run here this weekend. Battle Won, with 117 pounds, is second on the weights list of expected starters. The 119-pound highweight, Bwana Charlie, also worked Tuesday, getting a half-mile in 48.60 seconds on the main track for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Dollase planning Saratoga campaign

Another Churchill standout being pointed to the Saratoga meet is Two Trail Sioux, whose front-running victory in the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis Handicap last weekend was her sixth win from her last seven starts.

Trainer Wally Dollase said the Grade 1 Go for Wand, a July 31 race that is expected to attract Ashado, is next for Two Trail Sioux.

Dollase, the longtime Southern California veteran who moved his stable to Kentucky in March, said he plans to take about 12 horses to Saratoga, with the remainder staying at Churchill. He said he intends to move everything back to Hollywood Park in early November, then return to Kentucky next March.

Dollase said he believes he has "the best crop of 2-year-olds I've ever had, but it's going to be a while before some of them run because of the way they're bred."