With the graded stakes season winding down towards the holidays, the Claiming Crown series has gained swelling popularity. Held at Gulfstream, action on this event inflated from $8.8 million in 2013 to $10.6 million last year. The 2015 event has gotten even bigger, adding a ninth event to a full day of exciting competition.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey, who have earned the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Breeder the past two years while claiming the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Owner four times, are well represented at the event this year. They have successfully nominated a horse in every race.
The co-main event of the afternoon is The Emerald, which boasts a stacked field of 14 probable. King David serves as the most likely of all contenders. The Secret Stable product will be matched by Major Marvel, one of the Ramsey’s prized productions. Richard Sherman is also entering 5-year old Nicki’s Sandcastle, who is sure to create a lot of buzz.
The Jewel is the highlight of the day, and a strong field of 14 will be spearheaded by Private Tale out of Three Diamond’s Farm. The 4-year old gelding has run in just three races this season, earning two second place finishes and a third place. He’s an odd choice as the lead since he has just one win in his career, and that was in 2012.
The nine events at the Claiming Crown, hosted by Gulfstream, are as follows. The event runs on Saturday, December 5th.
Claiming Crown Cantebury ($110K)
Introduced just last year, the Cantebury is the shortest race of the day for 3yr+ geldings, run on a turf track over 5 furlongs.
The Rapid Transit ($110K)
A 7 furlong sprint with a purse of $110K, eligible for 3yrs+ geldings. It is run on the dirt track.
The Distaff Dash ($110K)
New to the series is the Distaff Dash, a 5 furlong sprint for 3yr+ fillies and mares. The advent of this race compliments the Cantebury for geldings and is run on turf.
The Emerald ($110K)
An 8.5 furlong race for 3yr+ geldings with a $110K purse.
Claiming Crown Express ($110K)
The Express used to be the shortest race of the day before the introduction of the Cantebury in 2014, and the Distaff Dash this coming year. It’s a 6 furlong, dirt race for 3yr+ horses.
Claiming Crown Glass Slippers
The one mile dirt race offers a $110K purse and, as its names suggests, is for filles and mares ages 3yrs+.
The Iron Horse
The race with the lowest claiming price ($7,500) offers a total purse of $110K and is an 8.5 furlong race on dirt.
Claiming Crown Tiara
The 8.5 furlong long race over turf features 3yr+ filles and mares, and offers a purse of $125K.
Claiming Crown Jewel
The marquee race of the day is The Jewel, which features 2yr old geldings and offers a purse of $200,00. It’s a 9 furlong race on a dirt track that highlights the best, blue collar workers in racing at this age level.