Claiming Crown Fields Set; Lake on Home Turf

Fifty-three horses were entered for the $550,000 Claiming Crown Championship scheduled for Aug. 31 at Philadelphia Park. It's the first time in the four-year history of the event that it will held away from Canterbury Park in Minnesota.

The richest race of the six-race set, the $150,000 Jewel for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles, drew nine entries. The 2-1 morning-line choice is Aidekman, Ailshie & Harris' Truly a Judge, who will ship in from Del Mar for trainer David Bernstein. Truly a Judge most recently finished second in a $100,000 claiming event at Del Mar. California-based Jose Valdivia Jr. has been named to ride.

Also entered in the Jewel is Prince Iroquois, Storm Cruiser, Mendham, Smooth Wood, Twilight Prince, Gotthard, Quiet Mike, and Threcoinsinfountin.

Shippers from Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Texas, and Canada will converge on Philadelphia Park to challenge the local colony, which his headed by horses trained by Scott Lake.

Lake has won five Claiming Crown events in the last two years. Though he has entered four horses, two of which are morning-line choices, Lake said he isn't "quite as loaded as I have been in the past." Lake believes this year's Claiming Crown will be the most competitive yet.

Lake has two entered in the $50,000 Iron Horse for 3-year-olds and up 1 1/16 miles. He'll saddle Richard Englander's I Wood Be a Winner and Blue Bayou Stable's Ruskin, with the latter installed as the 9-5 early choice with Jose Flores named to ride.

In the $50,000 Express for 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs, Lake will send out Englander's Warthawk Boy, while in the $75,000 Glass Slipper for fillies and mares at 6 1/2 furlongs, he'll saddle Home Team and Sammy G Stable's Final Dispersal, who is the 8-5 choice with Tara Hemmings.

The six Claiming Crown events will go as the sixth through 11th races on the
Philadelphia Park program. Many outlets around the country will simulcast the event.