Gulfstream Park will host the 14th running of the Claiming Crown on the opening day of its 2012-2013 meet Dec. 1, 2012. The 2012 event will see a significant increase in purses to $850,000 for seven races with the individual race purses ranging from $100,000 to $200,000.
In addition to the six Claiming Crown races conducted at the 2011 event, the Tiara for fillies and mares on the turf will return this year.
“We’re ecstatic to play host to the 14th running of the Claiming Crown on opening day December 1,” said Gulfstream Park president and general manager Timothy Ritvo. “Horses competing in the claiming ranks are many of the toughest in the world. They’re game and they build loyal followings within the Thoroughbred community, whether with fans, owners, or trainers.
“This is an important event to our chairman, Mr. Frank Stronach, and we’re very excited about kicking off our 2012-2013 season with the Claiming Crown. The management and staff at Gulfstream look forward to working with the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association.”
This will mark the first time Gulfstream has hosted the event, which debuted at Canterbury Park in 1999. Canterbury has hosted 10 of the first 13 renewals of the event. The Claiming Crown was held at Philadelphia Park (now Parx Racing) in 2002, at Ellis Park in 2007, and Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots in 2011.
Further details on the event’s race lineup, purse structure, nomination, and entry deadline schedule and eligibility dates will be released soon.
“The FHBPA board of directors thought the purses for the Claiming Crown had become quite outdated and stale over its 13-year history, and thus, chose to significantly increase them," said FHBPA executive director Kent Stirling. "The board felt if the Claiming Crown were to come to Gulfstream Park, it needed to be the best Claiming Crown ever. We are proud to join with Gulfstream Park, the National HBPA, and TOBA to revitalize this great day for our claiming horses. Claiming horses are the backbone of our industry and deserve to be celebrated on their day with higher purses, and what we expect to be record setting live handle and simulcasting numbers.”
“We are excited and honored that Gulfstream Park has agreed to host the 2012 Claiming Crown,” said TOBA president Dan Metzger, who also serves as chairman of Claiming Crown Limited. “The enthusiasm and purse commitment from both Gulfstream Park and the Florida HBPA has been extraordinary and we believe this year’s event promises to be our best yet.”