Great opportunities at Claiming Crown

Profile Picture: Alastair Bull

December 1st, 2017

While there are grade one races and prep races for the Kentucky Derby and Oaks this weekend, some of the best betting opportunities are at the Claiming Crown meeting at Gulfstream Park.

The day features nine rich races for claiming horses. All the Claiming Crown races are worth at least $110,000, with the 1 1/16-mile Claiming Crown Tiara and 1 1/16-mile Claiming Crown Emerald Stakes (both on turf) each worth $125,000, and the 1 1/8-mile Claiming Crown Jewel Stakes worth $200,000.

And with such rich prizes available for the claimers, it’s not surprising that none of the fields have fewer than 12 runners, with most having full fields of 14 and two also eligibles.

There is a pick four on races 2-5, which includes the one-mile Claiming Crown Glass Slipper for fillies and mares on dirt, a turf maiden special weight, the six-furlong Claiming Crown Express Stakes, and the five-furlong Claiming Crown Distaff Dash for fillies and mares on turf.

Mended could be a possible anchor for the Glass Slipper as she shoots for her 10th consecutive victory. The Todd Pletcher-trained Animal Kingston is the likely favorite for the maiden special weight, Great Lou is the probable betting pick for the Express Stakes, and the Canadian graded stakes placegetter Kasuga is a strong chance in the Distaff Dash.

The last six races, all Claiming Crown events, form a Rainbow Pick 6. Rich Daddy, fifth in the 1 1/16-mile Claiming Crown Iron Horse Stakes last year, is back for another try in the first leg of the Pick 6. Leg two, the five-furlong Claiming Crown Canterbury Stakes on turf, is headed by the multiple stakes winner Pay Any Price, and Shaft of Light is the likely favorite for leg three, the seven-furlong Claiming Crown Rapid Transit Stakes.

Starship Jubilee, winner this season at Woodbine of the Nassau Stakes (G2) and Dance Smartly Stakes (G2), will be a popular selection for the Claiming Crown Tiara, the fourth leg. Black Tide, winner of the Mohawk Stakes on Empire Showcase day at Belmont Park, and Cammack, victorious in the Les Ahrens Memorial Stakes at Arlington, head an even line-up for leg five, the Claiming Crown Emerald Stakes.

The Claiming Crown Jewel is among the most open of the lot, and a great way to round off the Rainbow Pick 6. Woodbine Autumn Stakes (G2) winner Gigantic Breeze is a leading contender, but there should also be support for Jay’s Way, Chunnel, last year’s Brooklyn Invitational Handicap (G2) runner-up Turco Bravo, and Skip Away Stakes (G3) third-place finisher Flashy Jewel.

Whether the multi-race bets, exotics, or across-the-board bets take your fancy, there will be good returns available at the Claiming Crown.