07/24/2009 11:00PM

Antrim County's win a Claiming Crown first

Russell Baze scores his second victory of the Claiming Crown card, winning the Glass Slipper on Frisco Fox at Canterbury Park on Saturday. Lloyd Mason, like Baze based in Northern California, trained both of Baze's winners.

SHAKOPEE, Minn. - Antrim County turned back a sustained stretch bid from Fancy Runner to post a gritty triumph Saturday under Jamie Theriot in the $138,000 Claiming Crown Jewel at Canterbury Park.

Always within striking distance, Antrim County took a narrow lead turning for home, then was put to a fierce drive to turn back Fancy Runner by a neck. The winner paid $10.80 as third choice in a field of six after finishing 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.77 over a fast track.

"He was going real easy for me down the backside," said Theriot, who earlier on the day won the Iron Horse aboard Bright Hall. "Down the lane, he really dug in for me."

Glamour Guy, the 3-1 second choice, finished third, another 4 1/2 lengths back, while Furthest Land, the 9-10 favorite, faded to fourth.

The Jewel was the anchor race of the 11th annual Claiming Crown, the annual showcase of starter-allowance stakes for the so-called unsung heroes of Thoroughbred racing.

Antrim County became the first horse in series history to win two different Claiming Crown events. Al's Dearly Bred won the Claiming Crown Emerald twice.

Antrim County is based at Churchill Downs with Bret Calhoun, who trains the 6-year-old gelding for the Carl Moore Management LLC. Last year, Antrim County won the Iron Horse at Canterbury for then-trainer Jay Wilkinson. He now has won 15 of 52 career starts.

Ontrack attendance on a mostly cloudy, pleasant afternoon was reported at 11,324.

In other Claiming Crown races:

* Gran Estreno overtook a pair of leaders and went on to post his fifth straight victory Saturday in the $99,000 Emerald.

Given a textbook ride by E.T. Baird, the current leading rider at Arlington Park, Gran Estreno drew clear in midstretch and withstood the late surges of Hard Top and Stormy Surge to win the 1 1/16-mile turf race by 1 1/4 lengths.

Gran Estreno is based in Chicago with trainer Mike Stidham, who claimed the 6-year-old horse in May for $20,000. He paid $9.20 as a lukewarm favorite in a field of 13.

* Frisco Fox got a clean trip from the outside when stalking a wicked pace, then moved along to an 11-1 upset under Hall of Fame jockey Russell Baze in the $71,250 Glass Slipper.

Frisco Fox ($25.20) broke from the outer post in a field of nine in the six-furlong race. "I was glad we were out there, where she could settle," said Baze. Frisco Fox glided past the tiring Margie Marie, then held off Thunder and Belle by three lengths.

Baze won an earlier Claiming Crown race, the Rapid Transit, with You're My Boy Blue, also at a nice mutuel. Both horses are based in northern California with trainer Lloyd Mason.

* Julien Leparoux flaunted his abilities as one of racing's rising stars when coaxing the normally speedy Chasing the Prize ($6.40) into an off-the-pace trip that resulted in a brilliant victory in the $48,000 Express.

"They went very quick, and we waited and waited," said Leparoux, the 26-year-old Frenchman who has been see-sawing on the North American jockey earnings lead this year with Ramon Dominguez. "You want to finish the last part. That's how you win the race."

Mike Maker trains Chasing the Prize in Kentucky for owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey. The winner finished three-quarters of a length ahead of Norjac, who made the lead in midstretch and looked like a winner before Chasing the Prize came streaking home.

* Baze has been lauded for his many virtues as a jockey throughout his fabled career, including his timing. And it was Baze who timed his move just perfectly aboard You're My Boy Blue ($16.20), as they eased back off a swift pace, then surged late to win the $69,750 Rapid Transit.

"Going in, I thought this horse didn't have the best shot of the horses I was riding today," said Baze. "But he came to the party to run."

You're My Boy Blue finished 1 1/2 lengths before Grand Traverse, the even-money favorite. Idaho Joe flew late to snatch third from front-running All Joking Aside in the final jump.

* Robby Albarado rode regularly at Canterbury in the summer of 1992, well before he became a household name in racing. One of Albarado's benefactors during that early stage of his career, trainer Richie Scherer, greeted him happily after Mizzcan'tbewrong ($6.20) out-dueled favored Love to Tell for the trainer-jockey team in the $92,000 Tiara

Mizzcan'tbewrong led from the start of the 1 1/16-mile turf race, briefly gave up the lead to Love to Tell leaving the quarter pole, then fought back for a neck triumph.

"She was kind early," said Albarado. "And she was a fighter down the stretch."

* Bright Hall ($8.60), Theriot up, led throughout as third choice when romping by 5 1/4 lengths over Calm and Collected, the 2-1 favorite, in the series opener, the $48,000 Iron Horse. Codey Autry trains for the Heflin and Driver Racing partnership.

"He was doing it so easy," said Theriot.