October 25, 2011 — Lexington, KY — Nominations closed on Friday, October 21 for the 2011 running of the $500,000, six-race Claiming Crown, which is scheduled for Saturday, December 3 at Fair Ground Race Course & Slots. A total of 128 horses were nominated, topped by Rapid Redux. Click here to see a full list of the nominees.

Rapid Redux, a five-year-old gelding owned by Robert Cole and trained by David Wells, will be attempting to tie 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta and New Mexico-bred standout Peppers Pride for most consecutive wins (19) by a U.S.-based horse since 1900 in a seven furlong starter allowance race this Thursday at Laurel Park. Claimed for $6,250 last fall by Wells and Cole, the son of Pleasantly Perfect has won 18 straight in the starter allowance ranks at seven tracks across the Mid-Atlantic.

Supplemental nominations (five percent of the race’s purse) will be accepted for the Claiming Crown races through Friday, November 18, 2011.

Pre-Entries for the six 2011 Claiming Crown races will be taken on Monday, November 21, at which time nominated horses must be declared for a specific race. Final entries for the races will be taken on Wednesday, November 30.

The Claiming Crown is a partnership between the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association. Patterned after the Breeders’ Cup, the Claiming Crown was designed to reward Thoroughbred racing’s “blue-collar” horses and offer races at varying distances on both dirt and turf. This will mark the first time Fair Grounds has hosted the event, which debuted at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minnesota in 1999. Canterbury has hosted 10 of the first 12 renewals of the event. The Claiming Crown was held at Philadelphia Park (now Parx Racing) in Bensalem, Pennsylvania in 2002 and at Ellis Park in Henderson, Kentucky in 2007. For more information about Claiming Crown please visit www.claimingcrown.com.

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, the nation’s third-oldest racetrack, has been in operation since 1872. Located in New Orleans, Fair Grounds is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN); it also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and 10 off-track betting parlors throughout southeast Louisiana. The 84-day 140th Thoroughbred racing season, running November 24, 2011 to April 1, 2012, is highlighted by the 99th renewal of the Grade II, $1 million Louisiana Derby on closing day. Information about Fair Grounds can be found online at www.FairGroundsRaceCourse.com.

TOBA, based in Lexington, Kentucky, was formed in 1961 and is a national trade organization of Thoroughbred owners and breeders. TOBA’s mission is to “improve the economics, integrity and pleasure of the sport on behalf of Thoroughbred owners and breeders.” Projects managed by TOBA include the American Graded Stakes Committee, The Racing Game, Sales Integrity Program and Claiming Crown. TOBA is the owner of The Blood-Horse Inc., and is represented on the Board of Directors of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association as a founding member.

The National HBPA (www.nationalhbpa.com), based in Lexington, Kentucky, is the largest racing horsemen’s representative association in North America, with 30 affiliate organizations and over 30,000 member horsemen. Big Dee’s Tack & Vet Supplies, Equineline.com, and Horseman Labor Solutions are proud corporate partners of the National HBPA.

For more information, contact Jason Boulet, Racing Secretary, Fair Grounds Race Course at (504) 948-1246 or Jason.Boulet@fgno.com.