First 'Claiming Crown' in Kentucky Set for Aug. 4, 2007

(Edited press release)
The Claiming Crown, to be held for the first time at Ellis Park in western Kentucky, has been scheduled for Aug. 4, officials said.

Earlier this year, the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, which own the event, announced it would be held at Ellis Park in 2007. Since its inception in 1999, the Claiming Crown has been held seven times at Canterbury Park in Minnesota and once at Philadelphia Park.

"Everyone at Ellis Park is excited about hosting this unique day of racing which annually has brought together hard-knocking horses from all sections of the country," said Ron Geary, who this year purchased Ellis Park from Churchill Downs Inc.

"We know how successful the Claiming Crown has been at Canterbury, and now it's Kentucky's turn to show the racing industry what we can do."

The Claiming Crown will again have seven races--five on dirt and two on turf--for horses that have started at least once in the past year for claiming prices ranging from $7,500 to $35,000.

Two distance changes will be made due to the configuration of the Ellis Park racetrack. The $50,000 Iron Horse will be shortened to a mile from 1 1/16 miles, and the $150,000 Jewel will go back to its original distance of 1 1/8 miles from 1 1/16 miles.

Ellis Park has a 1 1/8-mile dirt track with a one-mile "half-turn" chute. It doesn't card 1 1/16-mile events.

"We also plan an innovative day of wagering as part of The Claiming Crown," Geary said, "so we want the horseplayers across America to stay tuned for more details as well."

Nominations for the 2007 Claiming Crown will close April 27.

For additional information, contact Claiming Crown coordinator Nat Wess at 800-340-6361, ext. 6411, or visit