Claiming Crown Program Another Success as Championship Meet Begins at Gulfstream
Gulfstream Park kicked off its Championship Meet Saturday with the $1.1 million Claiming Crown Program. And the 19th running of the Claiming Crown produced a record handle in its sixth consecutive season running at Gulfstream. Total handle on the 11-race program was $11.925 million, up 7 percent from last year and more than 13 percent from 2015.
Handle on the Claiming Crown has gone up every year since Gulfstream began hosting the event in 2012.
“We’re extremely pleased with the Opening Day of our Championship Meet and the Claiming Crown program,” said Gulfstream General Manager Bill Badgett. “The crowd was fantastic, the support from horsemen throughout North America was once again terrific, and we witnessed some incredible performances from our equine and human stars.”
One of those memorable performances was in race 2, the first of the Claiming Crown races, when Mended won her 10th consecutive race. The victory was another dominating wire-to-wire performance as the 6-5 favorite in a field of 14, as Mended won the 1 mile race going away by more than 6 lengths. The streak started in February when she won six straight races at Golden Gate.
Sandwiched between her win Saturday was a pair of huge longshots that produced monster payouts in victory. In her racing debut, Ms Peintour won race 1 and returned $133 as the longest shot in the field at 66-1. Then in race 3, Eye of a Jedi lit up the tote board at 57-1 odds with a $117.20 mutuel.
The Championship Meet is just beginning, but the biggest races including the world’s richest race $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational in January is still ahead.
“During the Championship Meet it’s one big event after another, and we’re preparing for an historic event next weekend in the Clasico Internacional del Caribe. We can’t wait to play host to our friends in Latin America and the Caribbean with an incredible program of racing featuring 11 stakes races.”