Simmard rolls to victory in the Louisville Handicap.

Simmard rolls to victory in the Louisville Handicap.

Reed Palmer Photography, Churchill Downs

Canadian-Based Simmard Wins Louisville H.

Roger Attfield-trained horse sets stakes record in Churchill Downs victory.

Canadian-based Simmard took the lead at the head of the stretch and held off Joinem to win the $115,200 Louisville Handicap (gr. IIIT) in stakes record time at Churchill Downs May 26 (VIDEO).

The 120-pound high weight in the 1 1/2-mile turf marathon contested around three turns, Simmard and jockey Gabriel Saez had a stalking position through most of the race as Depeche Chat and Harrods Creek strolled through fractions of :25.16, :50.05, 1:14.74 and 1:38.91 for a mile.

With three furlongs remaining, Simmard caught Harrods Creek and the took the lead at the top of the stretch while racing forwardly on the outside. Joinem and Calvin Borel rallied from last while six wide in the stretch and finished second, 1 ¼ lengths behind the winner. Tahoe Lake, the 2-1 favorite under Manny Cruz, finished third, a half-length behind the runner-up.

Simmard’s final time of 2:27.16 for the 1 ½ miles over a firm Matt Winn Turf Course was a stakes record, eclipsing Drilling for Oil’s mark of 2:28.35 in 2007, the first year the race was carded over the distance and surface.

Simmard paid $9.40, $4.40, and $2.60 as the 7-2 second choice. Joinem returned $5 and $2.60. Tahoe Lake paid $2.40. Harrods Creek, Cease, Rescue Squad, Depeche Chat and Derby Kitten completed the order of finish.

A 7-year-old horse by Dixieland Band-Dibs, by Spectacular Bid, Simmard is trained by Roger Attfield, who will be inducted in the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame this year. He co-owns the Louisville Handicap winner with Bill Werner. Haras Santa Maria de Araras SA bred the winner in Kentucky.

“We broke a little slowly, but I had him placed forwardly,” Saez said. “After we went a mile we started to pick it up a little bit. Every time I asked him he responded and at the end we were ahead by a length. I got a perfect trip. It couldn’t have gone any better than that.”

“(Simmard) has really clicked this year and Gabriel rode him perfectly,” said Suzy Lorimer, Attfield’s assistant who accompanied the horse to Kentucky. “It was great. He’ll ship back home (to Woodbine) tonight.”

The Louisville Handicap was his seventh victory in 31 career starts for Simmard, who has earned $606,673.