Claiming Crown Spot Plays
For the first time since its inception, the Claiming Crown will be hosted by Churchill Downs on Saturday. A total of eight six-figure events for the blue-collar horses in the industry will lead an 11-race card beneath the Twin Spires.
Race 4: Metzen Memorial S.
The 5 1/2-furlong turf dash attracted some talented contenders. #9 Seven Scents (5-1) has back class, and the Tom Morley trainee also comes in off of a fine allowance try at Aqueduct last time out. By Goldencents, the six-year-old gelding is a six-time winner at the distance and seems to be rounding back into form. The gray will have Luis Saez up and the price should be right.
Race 7: Tiara S.
The 1 1/16-mile turf test attracted an overflow field of 14 in a very competitive tilt, although I am siding with the morning-line choice. The Conor Murphy-trained #4 Sunny One (2-1) dons a sharp 10-4-3-1 lifetime line on the sod and has won two of her last three races. The four-year-old chestnut flaunted her stout late kick in toppling allowance foes at Keeneland most recently, and a repeat of that performance will give her a big chance on Saturday. James Graham will be in the stirrups.
Race 8: Ready’s Rocket Express S.
The six-furlong dash on the dirt for the boys drew a field of 13, with 22-time winner #7 Beverly Park (7-2) rating as my top selection. Conditioned by Norman Cash, the Munnings five-year-old is three-for-five on the oval and brings good recent form to the sprint with two wins in his last trio of assignments. Hecan run from on or off the pace, and I expect him to deliver something close to his best while making his 26th start of the season. Rafael Bejarano has the call.
Race 11: Emerald S.
The finale will be run at 1 1/16 miles on the green with an overflow field of 16 entered. Joe Sharp’s #9 Big Agenda (7-2) has put in a pair of nice tries while facing claiming foes at Aqueduct following the claim, and he possesses an upset chance with Saez taking the reins. By Data Link, the seven-year-old gelding was victorious in his lone local try and boasts the late burst to be one to worry about inside the final furlong. He will stalk early on before putting in his best effort turning for home.