11/24/2011 4:10PM

Claiming Crown: 52 pre-entered in six races

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NEW ORLEANS – Fifty-two horses, headed by Rapid Redux, have been pre-entered in the six Claiming Crown races to be run on Dec. 3 at Fair Grounds, the Claiming Crown’s first year in New Orleans.

Rapid Redux was one of nine pre-entrants in the $50,000 Iron Horse, a 1 1/16-mile dirt race for horses who have started for a claiming price of $7,500 or less since Jan. 1, 2010. Based in Pennsylvania, Rapid Redux was one of only three pre-entrants from that part of the country, another being Rein King, a New Yorker who was entered in the $150,000 Jewel. Rapid Redux’s connections, owner Robert Cole and trainer David Wells, have not committed their horse, who has won 20 straight races, to the Iron Horse. Cole said earlier this week he would consider flying Rapid Redux for the race, but Wells has expressed concern about long-distance travel.

The $75,000 Rapid Transit got only five pre-entrants, and the $150,000 Jewel, surprisingly, has only six, including three horses from trainer Mike Maker. Eleven horses were pre-entered in the $100,000 Emerald, a turf race, including Compliance Officer, who exits an 11th-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. Ten horses were pre-entered in the $50,000 Express, and 11 in the $75,000 Glass Slipper. Wild About Marie, an accomplished stakes winner on turf, is among the pre-entrants in the Glass Slipper, a dirt sprint.

Previous editions of the Claiming Crown were held at more centralized locations, and horsemen may have been hesitant to commit to long-distance ships for this year’s races. Nineteen of the pre-entered horses are based in Louisiana, 14 are training in Kentucky, and 10 in Florida. A handful of Illinois-based horses are among the pre-entrants, and there is one Canadian, Endofconversation, who was pre-entered in the $50,000 Express.

Final entries for the Claiming Crown will be taken on Wednesday, Nov. 30.