|Three Lone Star Park Preview Winners Headed for August 4 Claiming Crown
Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie held its first-ever Claiming Crown Preview Day on Saturday, June 2. The winners of the track's three Claiming Crown Preview races are all expected to represent Team Texas at the third annual Claiming Crown at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minnesota, on August 4.
Lone Star's three Claiming Crown Preview races simulated the exact conditions of three of the Claiming Crown races - The Iron Horse, The Express, and The Glass Slipper. Each was run as a starter allowance. In addition to the purses, the winner's earned an automatic berth into the Claiming Crown race that corresponds to the preview race they won at Lone Star. The winners that go on to compete in the August 4 Claiming Crown will also be given $2,000 by the Texas Horsemen's Partnership, LLP (THP) to defray travel costs.
The $15,000 Claiming Crown Iron Horse Preview was first off, and it was a 1 1/16-mile contest for 3-year-olds and upward that have started for a claiming tag of $5,000 or less at least once since July 31, 2000. Drawing a field of seven starters, the 7-year-old horse Stormscope was sent off as the heavy 3-to-5 favorite.
When the gates opened for the Iron Horse, longshot Rough Energy rocketed to the lead, with Stormscope his closest pursuer under jockey Ronald Ardoin. Rough Energy was two lengths in front after a quarter-mile in :23.13, but Stormscope had cut that lead in half by the end of an opening half-mile in :46.82.
Ardoin and Stormscope took command of the Iron Horse soon thereafter, forging to a one-length lead after six furlongs in 1:11.55. Texas Prime Time was right there in second place, while Rough Energy was beginning to tire. Candle Snuffer was just gearing up to make a run from the back of the field.
Stormscope continued to extend his lead through a mile in 1:38.14, eventually crossing the line six lengths on top in 1:45.27. Candle Snuffer rallied mildly to finish second, a length in front of Casehawk. Treasure Taker, Texas Prime Time, Rough Energy and Makedforspotlight completed the order of finish.
Stormscope, a son of 1990 Preakness Stakes (Gr. I) winner Summer Squall out of the Biscay (Aust) mare Finisterre (Aust), is owned by Larry and Patricia Loga's P & L Racing Stable. He is trained by Bradley Cathey.
The six-furlong $15,000 Claiming Crown Express Preview was next, drawing four 3-year-olds and upward that had competed for a claiming tag of $7,500 or less since July 31, 2000. Again there were no surprises as even-money choice Riverdancing led wire-to-wire for an authoritative 1 3/4-length triumph over second choice Triple Jim in 1:10.10.
Adam Richey and James Strode's Riverdancing dueled with Triple Jim through fast fractions of :22.30 and 45.18 before pulling away for a decisive score. Wings of Jones crossed the line 1 1/2 lengths behind Triple Jim in third place, trailed only by Lucky Bohemian.
Riverdancing is a 4-year-old son of Prospector's Music out of the J. O. Tobin mare Dancing Tobin. He is trained by Jodie Hodges.
The $20,000 Claiming Crown Glass Slipper Preview for fillies and mares going 6 1/2-furlongs featured another heavy favorite as Gone Platinum was sent off at odds of 9-to-10. Gone Platinum was unable to complete the streak of winning favorites, however, when she could finish no better than third in the race restricted to fillies and mares that had run for a claiming tag of $12,500 or less since July 31, 2000.
Owner/trainer Tim Garner's 6-year-old Nina K, sent off as the second choice at odds just under 3-to-1, staked an early duel between longshot Beth's Hope and the favorite before launching a bid that would take her past the leaders and home 1 1/2 lengths on top in 1:17.46. Corporate Power made her own bid and dueled with Nina K in the early stretch, but she had to settle for second since she was no match for the winner down the lane.
Favored Gone Platinum faded to finish third, a neck behind Corporate Power and a nose in front of Sequined Flag. Tree Farm was next past the wire, followed by Beth's Hope and Bionic Summer.
Nina K is a 6-year-old daughter of Ray's Word out of the Sing Sing mare Poetic Angel.
The winning connections of Stormscope, Riverdancing and Nina K all indicated to THP Executive Director Tommy Azopardi that their horses will be aimed at the August 4 Claiming Crown at Canterbury Park.
Co-hosted by the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA), the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders' Association (TOBA) and Canterbury Park, the Claiming Crown is an annual event that celebrates the bread and butter of the racing industry, claiming horses and their owners and trainers. The Claiming Crown consists of six races that divide guaranteed purse money of $550,000. Horses must be nominated to the races ahead of time, and to qualify for any particular race for which they are nominated, they must win one claiming race start at or below the specified dollar level of the race for which they are nominated in the twelve months prior to the event (more specifically, since July 31, 2000). The Claiming Crown is quickly becoming one of racing's most exciting and anticipated events.