Simmard and Newsdad meet again in Saturday’s $150,000 Pan American Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park.
Last time the two clashed they were separated by just a neck in the Mac Diarmiada Stakes (G2) at 1 3/8 miles with Simmard prevailing at the wire. Today, they will settle the rematch going an additional furlong at 1 ½ miles.
Jockey Patrick Husbands will be aboard Simmard for trainer and co-owner Roger Attfield, who has trained him throughout his career. The chestnut son of Dixieland Band has now earned more than $500,000 with the Mac Diarmida being his first graded stakes victory.
“He simply got better with age as some do,” said Attfield. “It’s really just been the last year to year-and-a-half that he found his best form.”
A Canadian Hall of Fame member, Attfield is a nominee for induction into the Saratoga Hall of Fame this year.
Jockey Julien Leparoux gets the return call on Newsdad for Hall of Fame horseman Bill Mott. Newsdad is a Kentucky homebred by Arch and was an impressive 6 ¾ length allowance winner over the course at 11 furlongs on Jan. 28 before the Mac Diarmida.
Newsdad was briefly under consideration for a chance in one of the Triple Crown races early last year when he finished a close-up fourth in the Blue Grass Stakes (G1) on Polytrack at Keeneland, but showed little finishing eighth in Peter Pan Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park in May.
Mott has a second contender entered in the field of six drawn for the 53rd Pan American with Hiram Polk, Jr. and David Richardson’s 5-year-old Kentucky homebred Harrods Creek and jockey Jose Lezcano named to ride.
Trainer Chad Brown has Amerman Racing Stable’s 5-year-old Center Divider in with a chance and Joe Bravo named to ride. The chestnut son of Giant’s Causeway finished fourth behind Simmard and Newsdad in the Mac Diarmida, but has run some big races in long-distance graded turf stakes, including a half-length loss when second in the 11-furlong Bowling Green Handicap (G2) at Belmont Park in September.
Gulfstream Park publicity contributed to this report.