06/16/2009 11:00PM

Team effort gets results for Simpson


BOSSIER CITY, La. - There appears to be a serious women's movement under way in the trainers' ranks at Louisiana Downs these days. Michelle Lovell has won with 6 of her first 12 starters during the first month of the current stand, and Pam Simpson begins this week tied with Charles Hukill atop the standings with nine victories.

"We have had our moments in the past, but nothing like this," said Simpson, a Louisiana Downs regular since 1992. "I can honestly say that we are not doing anything different, it is just that our horses run the gamut from the bottom of the class ladder to the top, and all of them are giving us everything they have. We have some truly, wonderfully honest horses."

Simpson also credited her staff for the barn's quick start to the season.

"I think we have the two best exercise riders on the grounds," she said. "That and the five grooms we have are excellent. The whole crew just works wonderfully together."

Simpson began her training career in the late 1970s on the East Coast, but her love of horses is a lifelong passion.

"I was born and grew up in Kentucky and have been around horses all my life. First it was show horses and jumpers. I didn't begin to train racehorses until 1978. There have been a few interruptions since, with my husband's travels with the Air Force, but he is retired now, and this is all I do.

"We stay here in the area all year round," Simpson continued. "Our farm is just seven miles from here, and we can't really afford to ship to other tracks, since we have quite a few mares and boarders."

For that very reason, Simpson went on to say, being able to winter and train at Louisiana Downs during the off-season is of great benefit.

"I have done that every time they have kept the track open," she said. "With the Quarter Horse meet here during the winter, they have clockers and the gate available, plus training over the surface here is so much better than at any of the training centers around the area. With this as our base, we can ship to the region's other tracks, primarily Delta Downs and Oaklawn.

"This game is full of ups and downs," she concluded. "Right now we are just enjoying the ride."

* Friday's feature is a second-level allowance/optional claiming event at a mile on the turf and will go as the afternoon's second event. Sefas Belle could rule a slight favorite in the competitive affair off a second-place finish in a third-level allowance in her most recent start.