The number of trainers that have nominated themselves for the right to nominate horses to the $1 million Claiming Crown increased this year to 283 from 276 in 2012.
The Claiming Crown, an eight-race series set for Dec. 7 at Gulfstream Park, altered its format last year in an attempt to generate more entries. Field size increased and the opening day program at Gulfstream generated $12.8 million in pari-mutuel wagering.
Under the new structure trainers must pay $100 to be eligible to nominate any eligible horses to the Claiming Crown, which operates under starter allowance conditions. Trainers have until Nov. 15 to nominate specific horses to the races.
"Once again the response from horsemen throughout North America to the Claiming Crown at Gulfstream has been fantastic," Gulfstream president Tim Ritvo said in a release. "We were able to set Claiming Crown records last season due to the competitive fields and our great fans, and we're looking forward to another great event Dec. 7."
The Claiming Crown, inaugurated in 1999, is a partnership between the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association.
"I want to thank all the trainers who submitted nominations for this year's Claiming Crown," National HBPA executive director Phil Hanrahan said. "With $1 million in purses this year, the Claiming Crown at Gulfstream Park will be bigger and better than ever."
"We're very pleased by the response from the trainers," TOBA president Dan Metzger said. "There are a number of new names from around the country on the list of nominees and that illustrates the expanding reach of the Claiming Crown. This show of support from the trainers should enable us to card full, competitive fields and provide fans with a great day of racing."
The list of nominated trainers includes Mike Maker, Todd Pletcher, Nick Zito, Doug O'Neill, Dale Romans, Allen Jerkens, Kiaran McLaughlin, Graham Motion, Richard Mandella, Wayne Catalano, Ken McPeek, Wesley Ward, John Sadler, Eddie Plesa Jr., Marty Wolfson, David Jacobson, Mark Casse, Roger Attfield, Ian Wilkes, Ralph Nicks, Michael Matz, Chad Brown, and Peter Walder.