November 16, 2016 — The 18th running of the $1.1 Claiming Crown, to be hosted by Gulfstream Park for the fifth consecutive year, received 279 nominations for the nine-race event that will highlight the opening of the Championship Meet on Saturday, Dec. 3.
“We appreciate the participation of all the horsemen and we’re delighted to be hosting this great event for a fifth consecutive year,” said P.J. Campo, Gulfstream’s General Manager and The Stronach Group’s Vice President of Racing. “The Claiming Crown is the first of several major events we will play host to at Gulfstream this winter, including the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational, $1 million Florida Derby, the Eclipse Awards and Sunshine Millions. The Claiming Crown is a great way for everyone in Thoroughbred racing to kick off the Championship Meet.”
The inaugural Claiming Crown was held in suburban Minneapolis at Canterbury Park in 1999. The Claiming Crown had also been held previously at Parx, Fair Grounds and Ellis Park. The event was started to reward the blue-collar horses that provide the backbone of day-to-day racing programs. Total handle for the Claiming Crown the past two seasons at Gulfstream has topped $10 million.
Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, who have won a record 14 Claiming Crown events, have 10 horses nominated including Homespun Hero in the $200,000 Jewel and Keystoneforvictory, Xaverian and Creaky Cricket in the $125,000 Emerald.
Although the Ramseys failed to own a Claiming Crown winner last year, they bred Tiara Stakes winner Quiet Kitten.
Michael Dubb has six horses nominated to the Claiming Crown including Royal Posse, who will attempt to defend his title in the Jewel while coming into the race off a victory in Belmont’s $300,000 Empire Classic.
Loooch Racing Stables, winner of last year’s Glass Slipper with Moonshine Promise and the Iron Horse with Run With Bulls, nominated Moonshine Promise for the Glass Slipper
Those nominated to the 1 1/8 mile Jewel along with Royal Posse include Red Smith Handicap (G3) winner Bigger Picture, Greenwood Cup (G3) runner-up Hawaakom, Diamond Bachelor, a winner this summer of two consecutive stakes at Gulfstream, and John Jones, a winner of four consecutive races at Laurel including a “Win & You’re In” on Nov. 6.
Fifty horses were nominated for the Emerald. Along with stakes winners Xaverian, Keystoneforvictory and Aire Bueno, Thinkinquality, a winner of six consecutive races earlier this year, has been nominated.
Turf Monster (G3) winner Doctor J Dub and Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint winner Successful Native were nominated to the Canterbury at five furlongs on the turf. Galton, third in Keeneland’s Woodford (G3), was cross-entered in both the Canterbury and Emerald.
The Claiming Crown is a joint venture between the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association. The Claiming Crown has been held annually since 1999.