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Aaron gives 3 horses to watch closely during the Claiming Crown Series, held at Churchill Downs for the first time in 2022. Who’s a vulnerable favorite Aaron’s going to try to beat? Who looks like a LOCK in the Late Pick 5? Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!
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A total of 95 of some of the nation’s top claiming-level horses, including seven also-eligible entries, have been entered in Saturday’s 24th annual Claiming Crown Championship Series, which will be staged beneath Churchill Downs’ historic Twin Spires in Louisville, Ky. for the first time.
The Claiming Crown features lucrative prize money for horse racing’s blue-collar athletes as they compete for $1.05 million in purses over eight races with starter allowance conditions. The event will bring together claiming-level horses from around the country as horses based in 11 different states are represented: Kentucky, California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania.
The first of 11 races Saturday is 1 p.m. (all times Eastern) and the Claiming Crown will cover Races 4-11 starting at 2:30 p.m. Racing from Churchill Downs is scheduled to be televised on FS2’s “America’s Day at the Races” from 2-6 p.m.
The marquee event, the $175,000 Claiming Crown Jewel at 1 1/8 miles for 3-year-olds and up that started for a claiming price of $35,000 or less in 2021-22, goes as Race 10 at 5:35 p.m. Last year’s winner at Gulfstream Park, the Saffie Joseph Jr.-trained Twelve Volt Man, is back to defend his title.
Fans can bet on the Claiming Crown on www.TwinSpires.com, the official wagering provider of Churchill Downs Inc. and the Kentucky Derby.
TWELVE VOLT MAN BACK TO DEFEND TITLE IN CLAIMING CROWN JEWEL – Magic Cap Stables’ Twelve Volt Man will defend his title against a field of 10 colts and geldings that were entered in Saturday’s $175,000 Claiming Crown Jewel at Churchill Downs.
Saturday’s 24th annual Claiming Crown Day will feature eight races for some of the nation’s top blue collar horses. This is the first time the event will be held at Churchill Downs. First post is 1 p.m. and the featured Jewel will go as Race 10 of 11 at 5:35 p.m.
Trained by Saffie Joseph Jr., Twelve Volt Man has competed for the majority of his 10-race career in South Florida with the exception of a third-place finish in the $100,000 Jazil Stakes at Aqueduct in New York. The 4-year-old gelded son of Violence started for a $35,000 claiming tag on Oct. 14, 2021 to become eligible for the Claiming Crown.
In last year’s Jewel at Gulfstream Park, Twelve Volt Man finished three-quarters of a length in front of Hanalei’s Houdini to spring the 10-1 upset victory under jockey Edwin Gonzalez. Saturday’s Jewel will be the first start for Twelve Volt Man since winning a starter handicap at Gulfstream Park on Aug. 28. Gonzalez will be in town to ride and the duo will break from post No. 9.
One of the top local hopes in the Jewel is multiple stakes-placed Intrepid Heart. Owned by Jack Wagon Stables and trained by Joe Sharp, Intrepid Heart finished a hard-fought second to stablemate Twilight Blue in the $200,000 Fort Larned on Aug. 13 at Churchill Downs. The former $25,000 claim sports an overall record of 27-8-7-4 with earnings of $520,382. Since Sharp claimed Intrepid Heart on Sept. 24, 2021, the 6-year-old gelded son of Tapit has only finished off the board once and hasn’t finished worse than second in his last seven starts. Tyler Gaffalione will have the mount on Intrepid Heart and break from post 5.
Among the other competition entered in the Jewel is Happy Got Lucky Stable’s $153,000 Maryland Millions Day Classic winner Ournationonparade. Trained by Parx-based conditioner Jamie Ness, Ournationonparade was claimed off Chris Hartman for $50,000 on Sept. 28 and went on to win the Maryland Millions Classic by 5 ¾ lengths as the 2-1 favorite. Jockey Paco Lopez will be in the irons from post 10.
Here’s the complete field for the Claiming Crown Jewel from the rail out (with jockey and trainer): Benevengo (Luis Saez, Jesus Cruz); Frosted Grace (Chris Landeros, Robertino Diodoro); Calibrator (Edgard Zayas, Saffie Joseph Jr.); Keystone Field (Gerardo Corrales, Mike Maker); Intrepid Heart (Gaffalione, Sharp); Digital (Corey Lanerie, Rick Hiles); Tiz Rye Time (Rafael Bejarano, Tom Van Berg); Decision Maker (Florent Geroux, Tom Van Berg); Twelve Volt Man (Gonzalez, Joseph); and Ournationonparade (Paco Lopez, Jamie Ness).
RECENT ALLOWANCE WINNER ONENIGHTSTANDARDS TOPS COMPETITIVE $150,000 EMERALD – Paradise Farms Corp.’s recent allowance winner Onenightstandards leads an oversubscribed field of 16 colts and geldings entered in Saturday’s $150,000 Claiming Crown Emerald at Churchill Downs.
Run at 1 1/16 miles on turf, the Emerald will go as the finale on the 11-race card with a post time of 6:05 p.m. First post Saturday is 1 p.m.
Trained by Mike Maker, Onenightstandards won a one-mile allowance event two starts ago at Kentucky Downs. The 4-year-old son of Archarcharch was claimed for $80,000 last September but became eligible for the Emerald after starting for a $20,000 claiming tag on April 7, 2021 at Keeneland. Overall, Onenightstandards has won three of 13 career starts with purse earnings of $173,762. In his last start, Onenightstandards finished third in a 1 ½-mile allowance event at Keeneland. Onenightstandards will be ridden by Tyler Gaffalione from post No. 4.
Here’s the complete field for the Emerald from the rail out (with jockey and trainer): Red Flag Alert (Fernando, De La Cruz, Cheryl Winebaugh); Rogue Element (Corey Lanerie, Jeff Hiles); Driftwood (Rafael Bejarano, Matt Kordenbrock); Onenightstandards (Gaffalione, Maker); Underdressed (Edgar Morales, Rey Hernandez); Bear Oak (Rogelio Miranda, Ismael Bahena); Samui Sunset (Jean Alvelo, Rodolfo Sanchez-Salomon); Major Wager (Santo Sanjur, Anna Meah); Big Agenda (Luis Saez, Joe Sharp); Carom (Martin Garcia, Eddie Kenneally); Freedom Matters (Edgard Zayas, Saffie Joseph Jr.); and Markitoff (Adam Beschizza, John Ennis). Also Eligible: On a Spree (Beschizza, Juan Cano); Max K.O. (Edwin Gonzalez, Joseph); and Shady McGee (IRE) (Gerardo Corrales, Maker). Main Track Only: Palace Coup (Gaffalione, Joe Sharp).
BAD BEAT BRIAN SEEKS REPEAT IN CANTERBURY TOM METZEN MEMORIAL – Marsico Brothers Racing’s Bad Beat Brian will attempt a repeat victory in Saturday’s $100,000 Canterbury Tom Metzen Memorial at Churchill Downs.
Carded as Race 4 of 11, the Canterbury Tom Metzen Memorial is scheduled to run at 5 ½ furlongs on turf. First post for Saturday’s Claiming Crown Day is 1 p.m. and the Canterbury Tom Metzen Memorial will go to post at 2:30 p.m.
Trained by Brittany Vanden Berg, Bad Beat Brian was claimed for $40,000 on July 23 at Ellis Park when he finished a narrow second to Fore Left as the 4-5 favorite. In last year’s Claiming Crown Canterbury Tom Metzen Memorial, Bad Beat Brian rallied from more than six lengths off the early pace to defeat Xy Speed by one length. Following that start, Bad Beat Brian tested stakes company at Sam Houston in the $100,000 Pulse Power Turf Sprint where he was the runner-up by 1 ½ lengths to Seven Scents. Most recently, the 5-year-old gelded son of Jack Milton finished fourth, beaten two lengths, in the $350,000 Woodford (GII) at Keeneland. Vanden Berg’s husband, Chris Emigh, will be in the saddle from post No. 2.
Flying P Stable’s aforementioned Seven Scents will once again clash with Bad Beat Brian. Seven Scents was claimed Aug. 31 at Saratoga for $32,000 for Jason Provenzano’s Flying P Stable and trainer Tom Morley. Since his victory in the Pulse Power Turf Sprint at Sam Houston, Seven Scents finished third in the $100,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint at Pimlico and fourth in the $100,000 Dark Star Turf Sprint at Canterbury. Luis Saez will have the mount from post 9.
Here’s the complete field for the Canterbury Tom Metzen Memorial from the rail out (with jockey and trainer): Spycraft (Tyler Gaffalione, Joe Sharp); Bad Beat Brian (Emigh, Vanden Berg); My Pal Mattie (Gerardo Mora, Lee Thomas); Creative Credit (Perry Ouzts, T.R. Haehn); C C’s Kitten (Santo Sanjur, Anna Meah); Petit Verdot (Florent Geroux, Tom Van Berg); Boat’s a Rockin (Tyler Connor, Brandon Kulp); Shelly Island (Jean Alvelo, Susan Cooney); Seven Scents (Saez, Morley); Chasing Artie (Tyler Gaffalione, Saffie Joseph Jr.); and Towing (Rafael Bejarano, Carlo Vaccarezza).
BOURBONETTE OAKS WINNER CANDY RAID TOPS $150,000 TIARA – Don’t Tell My Wife Stables and Keith Desormeaux’s $250,000 Bourbonette Oaks winner Candy Raid tops an overfilled field of 14 fillies and mares that were entered in Saturday’s $150,000 Claiming Crown Tiara at Churchill Downs.
Carded for 1 1/16 miles on turf, the Tiara will go as Race 7 of 11 with a post time of 4:01 p.m. First post Saturday is 1 p.m.
Trained by Desormeaux, Candy Raid became eligible for the Tiara by running in a $25,000 claiming event on Oct. 27, 2021 at Horseshoe Indianapolis where she finished fourth. Earlier this year, the daughter of Candy Ride (ARG) qualified for the $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks with her 4 ½-length victory in the Bourbonette Oaks at odds of 52-1. In the Kentucky Oaks, Candy Raid finished a troubled ninth when she lost position at the 5/16–pole and had to check repeatedly. The Tiara will be her first start since the $225,000 Iowa Oaks (GIII) on July 9 where she finished fourth. Jockey Corey Lanerie will have the call from post No. 10.
Here’s the complete field for the Tiara from the rail out (with jockey and trainer): Misty Veil (Mitchell Murrill, Chris Hartman); Cherokee Song (Rolando Aragon, Michael Evans); Good Fight (Brian Hernandez Jr., Jeff Hiles); Sunny One (James Graham, Conor Murphy); Judy’s Way (Rafael Bejarano, Carlos Silva); Peace With Honor (Gerardo Corrales, Hugh McMahon); Starship Mallomar (Tyler Gaffalione, Ron Abrams); Out of Sorts (Paco Lopez, Bobby Mosco); Bye Bye Bertie (Julien Leparoux, Leonard Powell); Candy Raid (Lanerie, Desormeaux); Midnight Bella (Edgard Zayas, Saffie Joseph Jr.); and Wicked Groove (Manny Esquivel, Rob Atras). Also Eligible: Kimberly Dream (Vince Cheminaud, Freddie Winston). Main Track Only: World of Wonder (Tyler Gaffalione, Joe Sharp).
FOUR-TIME CHURCHILL DOWNS WINNER FAMILY MAN TOPS $125,000 CLAIMING CROWN RAPID TRANSIT – Mrs. J.V. Shield’s Family Man, a four-time winner beneath the Twin Spires, leads a field of 12 colts and geldings that were entered in Saturday’s $125,000 Rapid Transit as part of Claiming Crown Day at Churchill Downs.
The seven-furlong Rapid Transit will go as Race 9 of 11 with a post time of 5:05 p.m. First post on Saturday is 1 p.m.
Trained by Robert Medina, Family Man won his career debut in a maiden $10,000 claiming event on May 14, 2021 at Churchill Downs. Since that start, the 5-year-old son of First Defence has won three other races in Louisville, all against starter allowance foes. Family Man has not finished worse than second in his last four starts. In his last start, Family Man returned from a 10-week layoff to finish second at even-money to All West on Oct. 2 at Churchill Downs. Tyler Gaffalione, who’s been aboard Family Man for seven of his lifetime starts, will have the call from post No. 6.
Here’s the complete field for the Rapid Transit from the rail out (with jockey and trainer): Ragtime Blues (Paco Lopez, Kelly Breen); Divine Leader (Edgar Morales, John Ennis); First Glimpse (Rafael Bejarano, Carlos Silva); Cajun Brother (Brian Hernandez Jr., Bob Hess Jr.); No Burn (Luis Saez, Oscar Barrera III); Family Man (Gaffalione, Medina); Powell (Alexandra Sherman, Justin Sherman); So Dialed In (Edwin Gonzalez, Jeff Skerrett); Lt. Junior Grade (Corey Lanerie, Tom Van Berg); Alexandros (Francisco Arrieta, Trish Duncan); Soaring Bird (Jack Gilligan, Will Walden); and The Queens Jules (Florent Geroux, Tom Van Berg).
LONGLEGGEDLAVERNE TOPS $100,000 CLAIMING CROWN GLASS SLIPPER – Thirstyacres Racing’s Longleggedlaverne will seek her fifth-consecutive victory as she tops a field of nine fillies and mares that entered Saturday’s $100,000 Claiming Crown Glass Slipper at Churchill Downs.
Run at one-mile, the Glass Slipper will go as Race 5 of 11 with a post time of 3:01 p.m. First post is 1 p.m.
Trained by Tianna Richardville, who is also the principle owner of Thirsty Acres Racing, Longleggedlaverne was victorious in her last four races at Horseshoe Indianapolis against starter allowance company. Overall, the 5-year-old mare by American Lion has won 12 of 36 lifetime starts and banked earnings of $168,543. Longleggedlaverne will be ridden by her regular rider Joe Ramos, who was aboard in her last four starts, from post No. 4.
Here’s the field for the Glass Slipper from the rail out (with jockey and trainer): Foreign Exchange (Ferrin Peterson, Paul Ares); Teller to Sing (Rafael Bejarano, Claude Brownfield); No More Mask (Jean Alvelo, Joanne Shankle); Longleggedlaverne (Ramos, Richardville); Maoilin (Eddie Jurardo, Donald Blankenship); Shes All Woman (Edgard Zayas, Saffie Joseph Jr.); Destiny’s Darling (Rolando Aragon, Michael Evans); Hashtag Lucky (Jean Alvelo, Rodolfo Sanchez-Solomon); and Invaluable (Luis Saez, Mike Maker).
BEVERLY PARK SET TO MAKE 26TH START OF THE YEAR IN $100,000 READY’S ROCKET EXPRESS – Built Wright Stables’ Beverly Park has been the picture of consistency since trainer Lynn Cash claimed him for $12,500 on Aug. 5, 2021, recording 17 wins from 33 starts. Now, the 5-year-old son of Munnings will attempt his biggest victory to date in the $100,000 Ready’s Rocket Express as part of Saturday’s Claiming Crown Day at Churchill Downs.
The Ready’s Rocket Express was carded as Race 8 on the 11-race program. Post time for the six-furlong dash is 4:33 p.m. with the first race scheduled at 1 p.m.
Since entering Cash’s stable, Beverly Park has won at nine different tracks across five states: Belterra Park (Ohio), Charles Town (West Virginia), Churchill Downs (Kentucky), Keeneland (Kentucky), Laurel (Maryland), Mahoning Valley (Ohio),Oaklawn (Arkansas), Thistledown (Ohio) and Timonium (Maryland). Overall, Beverly Park has won 22 of 42 lifetime starts with earnings of $490,930. Also, Beverly Park has won a national-best 12 races so far in 2022 (four more wins than Ernie Banker, Exit Right, Fortunate Friends and Rosefinch, who each have eight victories). Rafael Bejarano will have the mount from post No. 7.
Here’s the field for the Ready’s Rocket Express from the rail out (with jockey and trainer): Silver Moon Road (Samuel Bermudez, Randy Klopp); The Wolfman (Jean Alvelo, Joanne Shankle); Game Boy Benny (Fernando De La Cruz, Cheryl Winebaugh); Joyful Heart (Victor Lebron, George Bush); Honorary Degree (Joe Musarro, Justin Sherman); Nible Beast (Anthony Salgado, Elliott Soto-Martinez); Beverly Park (Bejarano, Cash); Hero Tiger (Luis Saez, John Kirby); Thirsty Betrayal (Joe Talamo, Matt Shirer); Powerfully Built (Tyler Gaffalione, Ronald Abrams); Crazy Legs Hirsch (Corey Lanerie, Sarah Davidson); and Don’t Forget (Francisco Arrieta, Aaron Shorter). Also-Eligible: Elle’sbigseacret (Isaias Ayala, Cheryl Shifflett).
DEFENDING CHAMP BLUE STEEL RETURNS IN $100,000 IRON HORSE KENT STIRLING MEMORIAL – James Woodruff’s Blue Steel is set to return from an 11-month layoff and defend his title in Saturday’s $100,000 Iron Horse Kent Stirling Memorial on Claiming Crown Day at Churchill Downs.
The 1 1/16-mile Iron Horse will go as Race 6 of 11 with a post time of 3:31 p.m. First post is 1 p.m.
Blue Steel, previously campaigned by trainer Jeff Hiles, was transferred to George Leonard III for his return to the races. In last year’s Iron Horse at Gulfstream Park, Blue Steel was the half-length victor over Zanesville. The nine-time winner will be ridden by Mitchell Murrill from post No. 3.
Here’s the complete field for the Iron Horse Kent Stirling Memorial from the rail out (with jockey and trainer): Bless the Kitten (Luis Saez, Jamie Grubbs); Moment (Florent Geroux, Elias Lopez); Blue Steel (Murrill, Leonard); Peekacho (Corey Lanerie, Dave Vance); Malibu Star (Abner Adorno, Ernesto Padilla-Preciado); He Takes Charge (Joe Ramos, Randy Klopp); Souper Catch (Tyler Gaffalione, Mike Maker); Time for Trouble (Joe Talamo, Jeff Hiles); Moti (Anthony Salgado, Carl O’Callaghan); and Iywaan (Tyler Conner, Mark Salvaggio).
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