Spectacular Me wins the 2016 Claiming Crown Distaff Dash at Gulfstream Park

Spectacular Me wins the 2016 Claiming Crown Distaff Dash at Gulfstream Park

Coglianese Photos/Kenny Martin

Claiming Crown Berths on the Line at Kentucky Downs

Fillies will dash 6 1/2 furlongs; males will go a mile and 70 yards in Crown preps.

A pair of automatic berths into this year's Claiming Crown Championship at Gulfstream Park will be on the line at Kentucky Downs Sept. 10.

Fillies 3 and up will go 6 1/2 grassy furlongs in the Claiming Crown Distaff Dash Stakes Prep, while males 3 and up will tangle over a mile and 70 yards in the Claiming Crown Emerald Stakes Prep.

Both races carry purses of $75,000 and will be run under starter allowance conditions, eligible for horses that have started for a claiming price of $25,000 or less since Jan. 1, 2016. Neither race is a black-type stakes.

In the Distaff Dash Prep, Joey Gee Thoroughbreds' Kasuga has the speed to make a strong impression. Competing for the first time under trainer Bill Mott, she enters after missing by a neck last out on the lead in allowance optional-claiming company at Woodbine for trainer Martin Drexler. She missed by a head two back in the Royal North Stakes (G3T) at Woodbine after setting the tempo. 

Spectacular Me, last year’s winner of the Claiming Crown Distaff Dash, was claimed for $25,000 out of the barn of trainer Steve Klesaris last out at Saratoga Race Course from a race in which she lost by a head bob on the line. The 7-year-old, now in the hands of Carl Deville for owners Saratoga Seven Racing Partners, has won 15 times from 52 starts.

In the Claiming Crown Emerald Stakes Prep, Team Block's Cammack figures to be tough, exiting the July 8 Arlington Handicap (G3T), where he finished sixth. He’s been salty in lesser company and has 9 wins from 24 starts on turf, including a 1-0-1 record from two Kentucky Downs starts. 

Alice Mettler's Hay Dakota is a Canterbury Park stakes winner and should be running late. He has the back class, with a win in the Commonwealth Turf (G3T) last season at Churchill Downs.

Spring Up, owned by Patricia's Hope, took the Mecke Handicap at Gulfstream in July and knows how to find the wire. He scored eight times from 18 turf tries.

Neoclassic was claimed out of his last two races, most recently for $32,000 at Saratoga out of the barn of Abigail Adsit. He's in good form and should be a factor for new trainer Eddie Kenneally.

Skychai Racing's Special Ops took the West Virginia House of Delegates Speaker's Cup Stakes going the same distance as Saturday's contest and looks to make it two in a row for trainer Mike Maker.