Gary Simpson likes what he’s seen so far from Rewind Again. He hopes the best is yet to come.
Rewind Again, the winner of three of seven races this year, competes in Monday’s $30,000 Bobby Weiss Series championship for 3- and 4-year-old female pacers at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. She will leave from post No. 9 with driver Victor Kirby.
While Monday’s draw was not favorable -- horses have won only four of 132 tries from post nine at Pocono -- Simpson is looking forward to the race and Rewind Again’s future. The 3-year-old filly is one of two Simpson Stable horses eligible to the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes, the other is 3-year-old male pacer Ascaryone Hanover, as the trainer ventures into stakes action in the Keystone State for the first time.
Simpson, a 48-year-old Delaware native and graduate of the U.S. Trotting Association Driving School, has been training horses since December 2010. He has 148 lifetime wins and has conditioned two Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund finalists, Now Virginia and Puddle Jumper, in his brief career.
"I can’t complain; it’s been good," said Simpson, who also runs an excavating business and is assisted with the horses by his father. "We’ve had fun with it. We enjoy it. My dad loves it. We’ve got good help, good grooms at the barn. Everybody has a good time there. I’ve met a lot of good people in the business."
Simpson and his father, also Gary, attended Driving School together. The elder Gary is a retired concrete plant foreman.
"We had some horses and had other people training them," Simpson said. "I wanted to get my trainer’s license. I hadn’t been involved with the horses a whole lot and I wanted to learn. I learned a lot about the rigging of the horses and the different bits and shoeing. We enjoyed it. It was good. I would definitely recommend it."
This year’s Driving School will begin Wednesday (May 31), with a welcoming reception/dinner featuring Bob Boni, co-owner of 2016 Horse of the Year Always B Miki.
Participants work alongside grooms and trainers stabled at the fairgrounds Thursday-Saturday mornings. Each afternoon, topics such as horse ownership, veterinary care, driving strategy, training and conditioning and stable management will be covered by guest speakers.
Simpson’s interest in harness racing stemmed from childhood trips to Harrington Raceway, where Simpson now has his own stable of a dozen horses. Simpson owns many of the horses with a childhood friend, Eric Good, and focused on conditioned-level horses before becoming more active in buying stakes-eligible performers.
"We bought some babies; they’re coming along," Simpson said. "We’re trying to do that a little bit now and get into the stakes."
Simpson bought Rewind Again and Ascaryone Hanover from Canadian owners last summer.
Rewind Again, a daughter of Dragon Again out of Rewound, has won five of 11 career races and earned $35,420 for Simpson and Good. She has a win, a second and two fifths in the Weiss Series.
"She’s done good," Simpson said. "She got sick the second week, but she’s been better since then. Last week a horse made a break in front of her and (driver George Napolitano Jr.) had to snatch her up down the backside, but we’re hoping she should be good this week. She drew the nine hole, so we’ll just have to make the best of it. I don’t think she’s really shown what she can do yet."
Rewind Again is 12-1 on the morning line for the Weiss final. Cousin Mary, the winner of 10 of 12 races this year and seven in a row, is the 5-2 favorite from post four.
In the Weiss championship for male pacers, Highalator is the 5-2 choice.--By Ken Weingartner/Harness Racing Communications
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