Annual Claiming Crown Highlights Hard Knocking Types

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By Emily Shields

There are nine stakes races from an 11-race card at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, December 7, with the highlight being the $200,000 Claiming Crown Jewel for older horses. Total purses are over $1 million, with the two other races carded being maiden special weights for juveniles.

The action, which you can wager on with TVG, kicks off with the $110,000 Claiming Crown Express. The six-furlong race has a field of 10, including Northern, a five-year-old gelding who has already won seven races on this track. Tale of Fire is unbeaten in two tries here for trainer Jorge Navarro; the son of Tale of Ekati has not been worse than third since March, 2018.

The $110,000 Claiming Crown Glass Slipper is another starter race for fillies and mares. Liza Star seeks her seventh win this year alone, as is Cuddle Kitten, who was a stakes winner at Parx last out.


Race 5 is the $110,000 Claiming Crown Distaff Dash for fillies and mares sprinting on the grass. The five-furlong race has Unaquoi seeking her 10th lifetime win. Stetson Gold was stakes placed last out. Band of Angels seeks her sixth win this year.

The $110,000 Claiming Crown Rapid Transit draws sprinters going seven furlongs on the main track. The race has 10 entrants, including course specialist Royal Squeeze, who is eight for 17 over this track and four for 10 this year. Yodel E. A. Who has never been worse than third here. First Deal has won three straight races at Monmouth, including two stakes.

The $110,000 Claiming Crown Canterbury Stakes drew 11 for the grass. Shekky Shebaz takes a massive class drop from the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1), where he finished third for trainer Jason Servis. Kent Sweezey trains the horse on the rail, New York’s Finest, who has won seven of 16 lifetime but only one of five so far this year.

The $110,000 Iron Horse is over 1 1/16-miles with a full field of 12 and one also eligible entered. Sensational Ride has had a mind-blowing year with eight wins in nine starts. His lone loss came last out at Thistledown. Dizzy Gillespie has won five of nine so far this year, including last out across town at Gulfstream Park West.

The Claiming Crown Tiara is over two turns on the turf course. Bareeqa has won three of six tries on this course, and was a winner at Belmont Park two back. Diamond Play seeks her 10th career lifetime win. Una Luna has been stakes placed in three of her last four starts.

The $200,000 Jewel is over 1 1/8 miles. Brian Lynch trains Third Day, who has won his last two starts and is two for three here. Both of those recent starts were at Churchill Downs in November. Forest Fire has won three in a row for John Servis, including the Maryland Million Classic at Laurel Park. Create Again puts the blinkers on for this.

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