Jockey Russell Baze ventured to suburban Minnesota to register a couple of wins for trainer Lloyd Mason and owners Theresa and Edward DeNike on the Claiming Crown undercard July 25 at Canterbury Park.
The Northern California-based Baze went into the day with a record 10,605 lifetime wins and added two more with You're My Boy Blue in the $75,000 Claiming Crown Rapid Transit and Frisco Fox in the $75,000 Claiming Crown Glass Slipper.
Baze also logged third-place finishes aboard Barok's Bling in the $100,000 Claiming Crown Tiara and Stormy Surge in the $100,000 Claiming Crown Emerald, all for Mason and the DeNikes. He was off the board with Jacob's Run in the $50,000 Express.
The 11th annual Claiming Crown included seven races worth $600,000 for racing's blue-collar workers. Nationally recognized riders Robby Albarado and Julien Leparoux each scored one Claiming Crown win.
Baze's winners paid well. The 4-year-old You're My Boy Blue, who closed from mid-pack to register a 1 1/2-length win in the Rapid Transit at six furlongs, was worth $16.20. The 4-year-old Frisco Fox, who took command of the six-furlong Glass Slipper for fillies and mares in upper stretch en route to a three-length tally, returned $25.20.
You're My Boy Blue is a Florida-bred gelding by Successful Appeal . Claimed in February for $16,000, he won for the fourth time in 21 lifetime starts.
Frisco Fox, also claimed in February for $16,000, is a Florida-bred daughter of Trippi . She has four wins in 17 tries.
The Claiming Crown Emerald at 1 1/16 miles on turf, went to favored Gran Estreno ($9.20), who drove clear in the final furlong for jockey E.T. Baird to win by 1 1/4 lengths over Hard Top. The runner-up edged the late-running Stormy Surge, who was bumped and steadied in the lane, by a head. The winning time was 1:41.33 over firm going.
The Argentina-bred Gran Estreno won his fifth consecutive race, the last four for his current connections, trainer Michael Stidham and Feel The Thunder Stable. The 6-year-old son of Lucky Roberto improved his career record to 8-3-4 in 20 starts with earnings of $178,881.
The Claiming Crown Tiara, the counterpart to the Emerald for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on turf, was captured by Mizzcan'tbewrong ($6.20). She defeated 7-5 favorite Love To Tell by a neck.
Mizzcan'tbewrong, ridden by Albarado, set the pace and battled back to win after being headed by Love To Tell in the stretch. Bartok's Bling was 1 3/4 lengths behind in third. The final time was 1:41.97.
Richard Scherer trains the 4-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Mizzen Mast for Last Call Racing Partnership. Her ninth win in 25 starts increased her earnings to $270,942.
The stakes action ended with the $100,000 Lady Canterbury Stakes at one mile on the turf, which was won by Vegso Racing's homebred filly Happiness Is, who nosed odds-on choice Euphony in a terrific finish.
Ridden by Rosemary Homeister Jr., Happiness Is ($10.40) took over from the pacesetter Fabulous Babe mid-stretch and gamely turned back the challenge of Euphony and Cliff Berry. Tom Proctor trains the winning daughter of Dynaformer, whose fifth victory from 21 starts bumped her career bankroll to $198,254.
Elsewhere on the claiming crown card undercard, Bright Hall (8.60) went gate-to-wire to score a 5 1/4-length win in the $50,000 Iron Horse at 1 1/16 miles.
Jamie Theriot rode the 8-year-old Silver Deputy gelding to victory for owner Heflin and Driver Racing and trainer Cody Autrey. (Theriot would later guide Antrim County to a valiant win in the $150,000 Claiming Crown Jewel.)
Favored Chasing the Prize ($6.40) charged five-wide to register a three-quarters of a length victory in the $50,000 Express at six furlongs.
Leparoux scored his only win on the day on the 5-year-old Pure Prize gelding for owners Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey and trainer Michael Maker.