With his arsenal of six entries whittled down to five after races were taken off the turf for Saturday’s Claiming Crown card, trainer Joe Sharp scored the natural double winning the $150,000 Emerald with Runway Magic and the $200,000 Jewel with Money Supply.
“When you claim one, you always hope they develop into the kind of horse that can be competitive on this day,” Sharp said. “It is special to win back-to-back races on Claiming Crown day, especially for my team. We all work hard every day. This is a lot of fun and it’s great to be able to share it with them. Keep him healthy and we will target the same race next year.”
Jordan Wycoff’s Money Supply settled in seventh of nine older males early on and rallied to split foes late winning the Claiming Crown Jewel by 1 ¾ lengths over Luigi’s Spirit. Run at 1 1/8 miles over a sloppy (sealed) track, the 4-year-old trained by Sharp stopped the clock at 1:52.05 under jockey Jareth Loveberry.
“After he won the starter for us at Churchill (Sept. 27) Jordan (owner Wycoff) reminded me that he was eligible for the Claiming Crown,” Sharp said. “And at that point we started to target it. His off track form hadn’t been the best in the past, so we were a little nervous. We went back and watched his replays, found some excuses and decided to give it a go.”
Claimed from Chad Brown in August at Saratoga for $35,000, the Practical Joke colt rattled off two wins and one place-finish in Sharp’s care. Prior to his victory in the Jewel, Money Supply had never won on an off track in five attempts, but with Saturday’s tally, he now boasts an overall 14-5-2-2 lifetime record along with a $366,532 bankroll.
Mike Diliberto’s 5-2 morning line was a bullseye as the bettors agreed and the Sharp-trainee paid $7.60.
In the race prior, Baron Racing Stables’ Runway Magic made his first run out of Sharp’s barn a winning one in the Claiming Crown Emerald. With blinkers back on, Runway Magic employed the opposite tactics of Money Supply, pressing the front-running Tatanka through the opening call off the 1 1/16 miles affair before taking over at the quarter-pole and grinding down the sloppy (sealed) homestretch to win by 1 ½ lengths over the 12.90-1 longshot Duke of Carthania.
Scheduled to be run on the turf, heavy rains demanded the Emerald be moved to the main track. Fair Grounds newcomer Jaime Torres guided Runway Magic across the finish line in 1:44.71.
“I just made a move because Joe Sharp told me he doesn’t have a good kick, Torres said. “He is just one-paced so I made a move early and thought let’s see what happens at the end. He kept going.”
Torres now has two wins for Sharp at the 2023 – 2024 Fair Grounds meet, which is the rider’s first year in the colony.
“We brought Jaime down here to ride first call,” Sharp said. “I usually have one guy that rides for us. He’s a good kid, good rider, and I know a lot of the guys up in New York think a lot of him.”
Claimed from Tom Amoss at Delta Downs on Oct. 28 for $20,000, the 5-year-old gelded son of Runhappy had previously made just one grass run.
“We entered hoping it would come off,” Sharp said. “It all worked out today. Glad to see these fields hold up after coming off the turf. They did a great job having this track ready today after the rain we got. When I came out this morning, I thought there was no way we were going to be able to make these races. Hats off to track management. I have a lot of respect for what they did today.”
Paying $12.60 at the windows, Runway Magic improved his career record to 18-4-3-3 and took home $90,000 for his connections to make it $310,342 in lifetime earnings.
Having won the 2022 Glass Slipper with Invaluable, Sharp now has three Claiming Crown victories on his resume.