The Claiming Crown is the annual chance for horses from around the country to get together, step up from the "for sale" ranks to run for added money. The mixture is usually volatile and this year's result at Canterbury Park in Minnesota was no exception.
Only one favorite visited the winner's circle in six stakes events.
In the big race, the $150,000 Claiming Crown Jewel, Intelligent Male came from off the pace to win by a neck over the favorite, Musique Toujours. Sent off at odds of nearly 19-1, Intelligent Male keyed a $26,511.80 superfecta with Rize finishing third and Bada Bam Bada Boom fourth. Intelligent Male, a 4-year-old, South Carolina-bred gelding by Ride the Storm, ran 9 furlongs in 1:49.62.
Superman Can, at 16-1, led most of the way to win the $50,000 Claiming Crown Iron Horse by a neck over Rough Draft, finishing 1 1/16 mile in 1:44.26. Chisholm, a 9-1 pari-mutuel chance, rallied from mid-pack to take the $50,000 Claiming Crown Express by 2 lengths over Setthehook with the favorite, Devil's Con, fading from the lead to finish third.
Heroic Sight got by pace-setting favorite Quote Me Later in the stretch run to post a mild upset in the $100,000 Claiming Crown Rapid Transit. And Banished Love was a mild upset victor by 5 1/4 lengths over favorite Moving Fever in the $75,000 Claiming Crown Glass Slipper for fillies and mares.
The only winning favorite was Stage Player, who got the lead on the backstretch in the $125,000 Claiming Crown Emerald and went on to win by 3 lengths. Stage Player, a 5-year-old son of Stage Colony, ran the 1 1/16 mile on the grass in 1:42.20.
While the claimers were having their day, the higher-priced steeds were still working around the nation's track to earn a chance in the Oct. 30 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Lone Star Park in Texas. In weekend races that might impact those events;
$2 million Distaff
Summer Wind Dancer overcame a sloppy track and the outside post position to post a 1 1/4-length victory in Sunday's $750,000 Delaware Handicap for fillies and mares at Delaware Park. The 4-year-old Siberian Summer filly, with Victor Espinoza riding, moved into contention on the turn and then mounted a stretch-long drive to collar pace setter Roar Emotion, who held on for second. Misty Sixes was third. Summer Wind Dance completed the 1 1/4 mile in 2:03.63. "Running on an off-track for her was a big question and she answered it," Espinoza said of his California-trained mount. "I also knew I had a good horse and everything worked out good." Trainer Jeff Mullins said Summer Wind Dancer has improved with the addition of blinkers and some changes in her training regimen. "Now that she is good and fit, she has kind of gone on with it all by herself," he added.
Yearly Report, a 3-year-old daughter of General Meeting, improved her record to five wins from six starts with a 1-length score in Saturday's $500,000 Delaware Oaks at Delaware Park. The favorite in a field of eight fillies, Yearly Report got the 1 1/16 mile in 1:43.80 on a fast track. Ender's Sister was second and A Lulu Ofa Menifee finished a distant third. "Once she placed herself second in the first turn, it was all over," said winning rider Jerry Bailey. "I did not do a whole lot to encourage her." Trainer Bob Baffert said he is looking at the Alabama at Saratoga on Aug. 21 as the next step for Yearly Report.
$4 million Classic, powered by Dodge
There will be no Canadian Triple Crown winner this year, either. In Sunday's second leg, the $500,000 (Canadian) Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie, A Bit O'Gold turned the tables on Queen's Plate winner Niigon, rallying from a pace-stalking trip to win by a head in the final strides. It was 15 1/4 lengths back to the show horse, His Smoothness. A Bit O'Gold, a chestnut son of Gold Fever, finished the 1 3/16 mile on a sloppy track in 1:57.69. The final leg of the Canadian Triple Crown is the 1 1/2-mile Breeders' Stakes on the Woodbine turf course next month. A Bit O'Gold's trainer, Catherine Day Phillips, said the horse will run in that event if he comes back okay from the Prince of Wales.
Kentucky Derby runner-up Lion Heart found a somewhat softer spot a bit more to his liking in Saturday's $100,000 Long Branch Breeders' Cup Stakes at Monmouth Park. After stalking the early pace, jockey Joe Bravo sent Lion Heart into a stretch duel with longshot My Snookie's Boy and won by a head after a long duel. Royal Assault was third under the wire. Lion Heart, a son of Tale of the Cat, ran 1 1/16 mile in 1:43.51.
Illinois Derby winner Pollard's Vision, under enthusiastic urging by jockey Jerry Bailey, caught pace-setter Britt's Jules in the final sixteenth to win Sunday's $250,000 Leonard Richards Stakes at Delaware Park by 2 lengths. Britt's Jules was second and Pies Prospect took third. Pollard's Vision, a son of Carson City, ran 1 1/16 mile on a sloppy track in 1:43.85.
$2 million John Deere Turf
Kickin Kris came three-wide on the turn for home to take the lead in Saturday's $150,000 Bowling Green Handicap at Belmont Park, then worked clear to win by 1 1/2 lengths over Better Talk Now. Gigli was third. Kickin Kris, a 4-year-old son of Kris S. from the Jade Hunter mare Kicken Grass, ran 1 3/8 mile on the inner turf course in 2:12.19. Edgar Prado provided the winning ride.
On Sunday at Hollywood Park, Star Over the Bay went right out to the lead in the $150,000 Sunset Handicap and never relinquished it. At the end, the 6-year-old Cozzene gelding held on to win by a nose over the odds-on favorite, Continuously. Leprechaun Kid was third. Star Over the Bay, ridden by Tyler Baze and trained by Mike Mitchell, ran the 1 1/2 mile on firm turf in 2:26.47.
Mustanfar won Sunday's $100,000 Lexington Stakes for 3-year-olds at Belmont Park on a disqualification as Icy Atlantic was demoted to second for coming out in deep stretch and bumping. Icy Atlantic got home just a nose in front after that incident and the stewards ruled the contact was sufficient to reverse the order of finish. Second Performance was well back in third. Mustanfar is a Shadwell Stable homebred by Unbridled. The 1 1/4 mile on the inner turf course went in 2:01.
$1 million Filly & Mare Turf
Alternate won Delaware Park's $100,000 Robert G. Dick Memorial Breeders' Cup Handicap for the second straight year Saturday. The 5-year-old daughter of Seattle Slew scored by a neck over Lady of the Future, with Primetimevalentine third. Alternate ran the 1 3/8 mile on firm turf in 2:20, notching her sixth win from 21 lifetime starts.
$1.5 million Bessemer Trust Juvenile
Chandtrue, the odds-on favorite, stalked the early pace in Saturday's $100,000 Hollywood Juvenile, got by pace-setting Actxecutive leaving the turn and then held on to win by 1/2 length over Actxecutive. Commandant was a distant third and Great Power completed the order of finish. Chandtrue, a Florida-bred son of Yes It's True, ran 6 furlongs in 1:10.88. Victor Espinoza rode for trainer Bob Hess Jr.
In other weekend racing:
Cryptograph overcame an outside post position to win Saturday's $100,000 Round Table Stakes over Fantasticat, who led briefly in the stretch. Chippewa Trail was third. Cryptograph, a son of Cryptoclearance, was forced wide the whole way around. "We didn't have the best of trips," said winning jockey Don Pettinger. "We didn't have anyone in our way but we were kind of wide." Despite the extra real estate, Cryptograph finished the 9 furlongs in 1:51.53.
Angelic Aura beat The Lady's Groom by a neck in Saturday's $100,000 RRM Carpenter Memorial. Supah Blitz finished third, another neck back. Angelic Aura, a 4-year-old, Florida-bred Concerto gelding, now has won all three of his starts at Delaware Park. He ran the 1 1/16 mile in 1:43.48 with Norberto Arroyo Jr. up.
Sunday, Niclie started last of just three contestants in the $100,000 Light Hearted Stakes for fillies and mares, then took charge when asked and rolled home first by 2 1/4 lengths. Bronze Abe was second and Our Josephina was third. Half the original field scratched when the track came up sloppy. Niclie is a 4-year-old daughter of Pembroke. She ran the 6 furlongs in 1:10.94.
Silver Ticket, a disappointing eighth in the Queen's Plate last time out, bid for the lead with a furlong to go in Saturday's $150,000 (Canadian) Toronto Cup Handicap for 3-year-olds, then edged clear to win by 1 3/4 lengths over Bachelor Blues. Burst of Fire finished third. Silver Ticket is an Ontario-bred Silver Deputy gelding. He ran the 9 furlongs on "good" turf in 1:47.35 with Todd Kabel on board. "We gave him a shot in the Plate," said winning trainer Mark Frostad. "But I'm glad he's bounced back."
Also Saturday, Mona Rose got by odds-on favorite Inish Glora in deep stretch to win the $150,000 (Canadian) Dance Smartly Handicap by 1 length. Inish Glora held second and Classic Stamp was third. Strait From Texas was a distant last in the field of just four fillies and mares. Mona Rose is a 4-year-old, Ontario-bred daughter of Gold Legend. She covered 9 furlongs of "good" turf in 1:48.18. "She's a good filly," said winning trainer Earl Barnett. "She's bred for turf and handles it well." Winning jockey Eurico Rosa da Salva is a recent import from Brazil.
Sunday, Winning Chance got the lead on the far turn in the $100,000 (Canadian) Belle Mahone Stakes for fillies and mares and drew clear, winning by 3 1/2 lengths over the favorite, One for Rose. Raylene was third. Winning Chance, a 5-year-old daughter of 1996 Breeders' Cup Classic (at Woodbine) winner Alphabet Soup, ran the 1 1/16 mile in 1:45.27 under Todd Kabel.
Calder Race Course
Secret Request beat Chase Gap by a head in Saturday's $75,000 Nancy's Glitter Handicap, with Dakota Light third, just 1/2 length farther back. Abdiel Toribio steered Secret Request over 1 1/16 mile in 1:47 3/5. Toribio said Dakota Light, a stablemate in trainer David Brownlee's barn, "at the three-eighths pole...was stopping me by lugging in. He came right over in front of me." Explained Brownlee: "They train together so they're used to running together."
Spruce Run got by pace-setting American Freedom without much trouble in Saturday's $60,000 Elkwood Stakes, then was all out to hold the lead against the late run of Stormy Roman, winning by a neck. First Lieutenant came from last to finish third. Spruce Run is a 6-year-old, Kentucky-bred son of Repriced. He ran the 1 1/16 mile on soft turf in 1:43.90 with Joe Bravo up. The favorite, Miesque's Approval, ran fifth.
Oh So Easy lived up to her name in Saturday's $75,000 Rose DeBartolo Memorial Stakes for Ohio-bred fillies and mares. The 4-year-old daughter of Take That Step tracked the pace three-wide, then responded gamely when set down for the drive and won by 2 3/4 lengths over the favorite, Ashwood C C. Whitewater Way finished third. Oh So Easy ran 9 furlongs on a "good" track in 1:53.24.
Knox got by pace-setting favorite Big City in the stretch run of Saturday's $75,000 Regaey Island Stakes for 3-year-olds and went on to win by 1 3/4 lengths. Cold Water was third. Knox, a Kentucky-bred son of 1999 Kentucky Derby runner-up Menifee, finished the 1 mile on a fast track in 1:37.34 with Brice Blanc aboard.
Okay, no jokes. Don Corleone and Seven Come Eleven combined for a $1,220 exacta in Saturday's $150,000 New York Derby. To win $277 in the superfecta, you only needed to have the winner on top. Okay, okay - The Godfather meets Guys and Dolls. Don Corleone, a son of Incurable Optimist, stalked the pace, got a big lead in the stretch and just held on to beat Seven Come Eleven by a neck. Work With Me was third and the favorite, Swinging Ghost, was never a factor and finished sixth. Don Corleone ran 1 1/16 mile on a fast track in 1:44.76.