01/15/2015 3:21PM

Blue-collar horses set to run for more than $700K in Claiming Championship Series

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OZONE PARK, N.Y. – New York’s version of the Claiming Crown will comprise 10 stakes worth a total of $710,000 in purse money when the inaugural Claiming Championship Series is held at Aqueduct on March 21.

Modeled after the Claiming Crown, which was run at Gulfstream Park last December, New York’s Claiming Championship Series will be open to horses who have started for a claiming price in 2014-15. The races will be run over the inner track.

Without access to turf, the New York Racing Association came up with a variety of categories to make 10 stakes, five at six furlongs and five at 1 1/16 miles. Only the $100,000 Mr. Sinatra, at 1 1/16 miles, is open to horses who have started for any claiming price in 2014-15.

The $90,000 Caixa Eletronica, for males, is open to horses who have started for a tag of $40,000 or less. The $70,000 Peeping Tom (males) and the $70,000 Xtra Heat (females) are open to horses who have started for a claiming price of $20,000 or less in 2014-15. The $50,000 Kelly Kip (males) and the $50,000 Videogenic (females) are open to horses who have started for a tag of $12,500 or less in 2014-15. All of those races are at six furlongs.

The $80,000 Stud Muffin (males) and $80,000 Karakorum Elektra (females) are open to horses who have started for a tag of $25,000 or less in 2014-15. The $60,000 More To Tell (males) and $60,000 Sis City (females) are open to horses who have started for a claiming price of $16,000 or less in 2014-15. Those races will be run at 1 1/16 miles.

“Aqueduct in the winter time is sort of our blue-collar meet, with a lot of claiming outfits and a lot of claiming races run, so here’s a way to reward the claiming horses that have been with us all winter long,” said Martin Panza, NYRA’s senior vice president of racing operations. “And it might be a way to draw some horses to Aqueduct for this day, which obviously we’re hoping happens. So, we’ll give it a shot.

“Hopefully, the fans respond, and we get a decent day out of it. We’ll see how it works, and if something doesn’t work, we’ll tweak it for the following year.”