In Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships style, a charter flight carrying 18 Thoroughbreds pointing for the Aug. 4 Claiming Crown is scheduled to arrive at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Sunday afternoon.
The six-race, $550,000 event, now in its third year, will be run at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minn. Almost 90 horses have been pre-entered for the Claiming Crown races.
"With the exception of the Breeder's Cup, this ranks as the largest contingent of horses ever to be flown in for a single day of racing anywhere in the United States," said Claiming Crown coordinator Nat Wess, director of racing at Canterbury. "Not even the Kentucky Derby attract this many air travelers."
Among the 18 horses scheduled to arrive from Baltimore, Md., are the probable favorites for five of the six Claiming Crown events. Three of the favorites are handled by Scott Lake, the nation's leading trainer and winner of three Claiming Crown races last year at Canterbury.
Two other Claiming Crown candidates are scheduled to arrive July 31 on a flight from Los Angeles, along with Canterbury-based Fancy Prancer, a top-rated 2-year-old filly who just competed at Del Mar. About 40 more horses based in Washington, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, and Kentucky are scheduled to arrive early the week of July 29.
Final entries are due Aug. 1, the same day as the draw for positions.