New Conditions for Claiming Crown

The Claiming Crown will have new conditions for 2008 at Canterbury Park.

The Claiming Crown will return to Canterbury Park Aug. 2, 2008, with new conditions designed to increase participation in the event.

The Claiming Crown, held under the auspices of the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, has for the most part been held at Canterbury since it debuted in 1999. The Minnesota track last held the event in 2006; this year, it moved to Ellis Park in Kentucky.

The Claiming Crown is a series of seven races run under starter allowance conditions, with purses ranging from $50,000 to $150,000. Through 2007, the cut-off for which horses must have started for a specific claiming price to qualify was about a year in advance of the event; that won’t be the case in 2008.

The conditions will be similar to those of starter allowance races held at most tracks around the country.

“We’re going to change the eligibility date system,” said Nat Wess, the Claiming Crown coordinator. “It’s in response to so many horsemen saying, ‘If you had (the eligibility date) one month sooner, I would have had a great horse for you.’ ”

Next year’s races will be for horses that have started for a specific claiming price (it traditionally runs from $7,500 to $35,000) in 2007-08. Those conditions, Wess said, will add “six or seven months” of eligibility for Claiming Crown races.

The Claiming Crown has been Canterbury Park’s biggest day of racing, and last year at Ellis Park, the event set a record for total handle. The host track and host horsemen’s group put up most if not all of the purse money for the races.