The Claiming Crown has dropped its trainer nomination program and has altered the lineup for the eight-race series to be held Dec. 6 at Gulfstream Park.
Under the trainer nomination program, horsemen paid a fee to be eligible for the right to enter horses by the regular nomination deadlines. It was implemented a few years ago.
The Iron Lady Stakes has been replaced with the Canterbury, a five-furlong turf sprint for horses that have been entered to be claimed for $25,000 or less since Jan. 1, 2013. The Glass Slipper, for fillies and mares, is now a one-turn mile (from seven furlongs) and the race is open to horses that have raced for a claiming tag of $12,500 (instead of $16,000). The Canterbury and the Glass Slipper each have a purse of $110,000.
The nomination deadline for horses is Nov. 8, with a fee of $100 per horse for each race nominated. The supplemental nomination deadline is Dec. 3; the fees range from $2,500-$5,000 depending on the event.
"Gulfstream is proud to kick off its 2014-15 championship meet with the Claiming Crown," track chief executive officer Tim Ritvo said. "Interest continues to grow in the Claiming Crown with both horsemen and bettors. We believe the streamlined nominating process will help horsemen, and the changes in the condition of the two races will further enhance the event and bring more opportunity to bettors."
Phil Hanrahan, the CEO of the National HBPA, Inc., said, "The new five-furlong turf sprint should be an attractive race for owners and trainers and should provide a great wagering opportunity for handicappers. Our goal is to have eight competitive races with full fields and this was the reason we decided to change the Glass Slipper to a one-turn mile."
Said Kent Stirling, executive director of the Florida HBPA: "We changed the name of the new race we added to the Claiming Crown last year from the Iron Lady to the Canterbury to honor Minnesota HBPA's Tom Metzen and Canterbury Park's Randy Sampson. Without their tireless efforts, the Claiming Crown would never have gotten off the ground and been as successful as it has been over the last fifteen years."
Canterbury Park hosted the first Claiming Crown in 1999, and has hosted more editions of the event than any other racetrack.
"We are extremely appreciative of the support of the owners and trainers who support the Claiming Crown and believe the change in the nomination process and the addition of the Canterbury will have a positive impact on the event, both for the fans and horsemen," said Dan Metzger, president of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association.
TOBA, the National HBPA, and the host track are partners in the Claiming Crown.