Sinners N Saints, winner of six of his last eight starts, headlines a solid group of 83 horses pre-entered for the 2006 Claiming Crown, to be run on July 15 at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minn.
The 6-year-old, trained by Richard Dutrow Jr., figures as the top choice among the six pre-entered for the $150,000 Claiming Crown Jewel, the marquee event of seven Claiming Crown races. Dutrow trained 2005 Horse of the Year Saint Liam to victory in last year's $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic Powered by Dodge (gr. I) at Belmont Park.
TVG will provide live coverage of the Claiming Crown.
Born in 1999 as an event designed to pay tribute to the blue-collar heroes of Thoroughbred horseracing, the Claiming Crown has become the unofficial celebration of the nation's claiming horses.
The seven Claiming Crown races offer total purse money of $600,000. In addition to the Jewel, there are two $100,000 grass contests – the Claiming Crown Emerald and the Claiming Crown Tiara. A pair of $75,000 sprint races – the Claiming Crown Glass Slipper and the Claiming Crown Rapid Transit will also be run, along with two $50,000 events – the Claiming Crown Iron Horse and the Claiming Crown Express. To be eligible to compete in the Claiming Crown, a horse must have started at least once since July 15, 2005 for a claiming price ranging from $7,500 to $35,000.
The Claiming Crown Jewel, with its six pre-entrants, was the only Claiming Crown race to attract fewer than 10. Scott Lake, leading the nation's trainers with 322 victories so far this year, continued his enthusiastic support of the Claiming Crown by pre-entering horses in five different races. His six Claiming Crown wins are still a record even though the Mid Atlantic-based trainer has been blanked each of the last three years on Canterbury Park's big day.
Todd Pletcher, winner of each of the last two Eclipse Awards as the nation's champion trainer, will ship in his first-ever Claiming Crown starter in Coded Princess, a 4-year-old filly who figures as one of the horses to beat among a bulky group of 15 pre-entrants for the Tiara.
This year nearly one-third of the pre-entrants represent Minnesota-based connections.
The day will also feature the $100,000 Lady Canterbury Breeders' Cup Stakes for female turf milers. Also adding to the raceday excitement will be the inaugural "Claiming Crown Ultimate Handicappers Open," an on-site handicapping contest offering a guaranteed first prize of $50,000 and three coveted berths in next January's DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas.