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Claiming Crown at Gulfstream Through 2015

Deal with horseman groups includes new race and purses totaling $1 million.

The Claiming Crown, with purses totaling $1 million this year, will continue to be held at Gulfstream Park through 2015, it was announced Aug. 15.

This year's event, to be held for the second year in a row at Gulfstream, is scheduled Dec. 7 with a record amount in purses and an additional race for fillies and mares.

Gulfstream Park, the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, and the Florida HBPA made the joint announcement in a press release.

There will be eight races including the debut of the new $110,000 Iron Lady for fillies and mares who have started for a claiming price of $7,500 or less since Jan. 1, 2012, going 1 1/16 miles on the main track. Four of the Claiming Crown races with $100,000 purses last year were boosted to $110,000 this year. The eight Claiming Crown races in 2013, all for 3-year-olds and up who have started for a specified claiming price or less since Jan. 1, 2012, are:

· $200,000 Jewel, 1 1/8 miles, $35,000 claiming price
· $125,000 Emerald, 1 1/16 miles (turf), $25,000 claiming price
· $125,000 Tiara, 1 1/16 miles (turf), fillies and mares, $25,000 claiming price
· $110,000 Rapid Transit, 7 furlongs, $16,000 claiming price
· $110,000 Glass Slipper, 7 furlongs, fillies and mares, $16,000 claiming price
· $110,000 Express, 6 furlongs, $7,500 claiming price
· $110,000 Iron Horse, 1 1/16 miles, $7,500 claiming price
· $110,000 Iron Lady, 1 1/16 miles, fillies and mares, $7,500 claiming price

The nominating system will remain the same this year, with the deadline for trainer nominations Sept. 20. For a payment of $100, a trainer will become eligible to nominate any number of horses. The deadline for horse nominations is Nov. 15, and the deadline for supplemental nominations is Dec. 4.

"Gulfstream Park and The Stronach Group are proud of the Claiming Crown's record success last winter at our facility," said track president Tim Ritvo. "Due to that success and our partnerships with NHBPA, FHBPA and TOBA, we were able to negotiate a three-year agreement. Having the Claiming Crown is great for Gulfstream, great for horsemen, great for fans, and super for the industry."

"Thanks to Gulfstream Park and the Florida FHBPA raising the total purses to $1 million and adding the new fillies and mares race, we hope to build on the success of the 2012 edition of the Claiming Crown and attract the best current and former claiming horses to Florida in December," said Phil Hanrahan, CEO of the National HBPA. “The three-year agreement will facilitate the further importance of this day of racing as a target for owners and trainers throughout the United States and Canada.”

Said TOBA President Dan Metzger, "Gulfstream did a fantastic job last winter with what turned out to be a record Claiming Crown. We're excited about returning to Gulfstream these next three years and recognizing and celebrating the claiming horses of North America."

Kent Stirling, executive director of the FHBPA, noted the Claiming Crown started in 1999 at Canterbury Park with total purses of $500,000 and was developed there over several years. He credited then-TOBA president Drew Couto and the NHBPA's Scott Saving and Bill Walmsley for creating the event, and Randy Sampson at Canterbury and Tom Metzen Sr., the Minnesota HBPA president, for nurturing it.

"The 15th renewal of the Claiming Crown is now a million dollar event locked into a three-year deal with Gulfstream Park as one of their premier racing events," Stirling said. "This is a fantastic event for our one-time blue collar claiming horses and their connections, but a great debt of gratitude is owed to those mentioned above who conceived of and brought this concept to fruition as the Claiming Crown."