Updated on 09/18/2011 12:27AM

Claiming Crown contenders

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Distinct Vision comes into the Iron Horse with a seven-race winning streak.

This Saturday, Canterbury Park in Minnesota will play host to the intriguing Claiming Crown for the seventh time in eight years.

This year's card of seven stakes races for horses who have run in claiming races during the past 12 months will be complemented by Canterbury's most important stakes, the $100,000 Lady Canterbury at one mile on the turf for 3-year-old fillies.

Among the 83 horses that were pre-entered for the Claiming Crown were runners from such familiar trainers as Scott Lake, Todd Pletcher, Ben M. Feliciano, Dale Capuano, John F. Martin, Jayne Vaders, Carla Gaines, Jeff Mullins, Michael Stidham, and Richard Dutrow Jr., all of whom have been winning at a 20 percent rate or higher wherever they race.

First post for this year's Claiming Crown card is 4 p.m. Central, instead of the 1 p.m. that had been in vogue during previous seasons. TVG will be providing live national television coverage.

Canterbury will host the Claiming Crown Ultimate Handicapping Open, with a guaranteed $50,000 first prize and three seats for next January's DRF/NTRA Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas. The entry fee is a steep $2,000, but $1,000 will be used as live wagering money and $1,000 will go to the purse.

Here is a preview of the horses who figure to be prominent contenders in each of the seven Claiming Crown races, which will be run under starter allowance conditions that are slightly different than in previous years. The top Beyer Speed Figure earned in 2006 by each horse is in parentheses.

$50,000 Iron Horse

This is a 1 1/16-mile race for horses that were entered to be claimed for $7,500 or less since July 15, 2005. The horse to beat is Distinct Vision (102), who has won seven straight wire to wire for Lake, including his latest over the track on June 25. Lake has had a poor Claiming Crown record, but this year he shipped in early to give his contenders a race over the track.

Boston Fox (90) has as won 3 of his last 5, including a recent Canterbury race. He is trained by Calder-based Kirk Ziadie.

Big Slew (88) is an improving stretch runner has 2 wins and 4 in-the-money finishes in 6 outings this year, all in Kentucky.

Harry Got Happy (90) and Coloreado (85), trained by local fixtures David Van Winkle and Troy Bainum, finished second and third to Distinct Vision on June 25.

Risky Weather, trained by high-percentage, Chicago-based Leo Gabriel, beat similar at Arlington in his latest and earned an 88 Beyer when third for $17,500 in his prior start.

$50,000 Express

This race is at six furlongs (eligibility, $7,500 claiming) for 3-year-olds and up. The horse to beat is Texmckay (86), who has been close in his last few at Philadelphia Park for 29-percent trainer Vaders, who reclaimed this one in February.

Pretty Cagey (90), normally a stretch runner, flashed unusual early speed when second at Pimlico in his latest. He has been one-two-three in all six outings this year. He is trained by Feliciano, a 25 percent winner.

Rocky Plains (83), trained by local fixture Bernell Rhone, improved in his return to this track, winning his last two, both at 5 1/2 furlongs.

Runnin' the River (84) and Threat From Above (78) are locally based front-running winners over the track for trainer Justin Evans, a 25 percent Canterbury winner.

Triton Missile (87) won a duel, then drew off in a recent starter allowance at Churchill for his second win in four outings since being claimed by Ron Moquett in April.

$75,000 Glass Slipper

This race is at six furlongs (eligibility $16,000) for fillies and mares. The horse to beat is Funny Woman (93), who wired a local field at 1-10 odds when she was shipped in by Lake last month. She has won 4 of 6 since he took her for $25,000 last November.

The other main contender is Da Svedonya (94), who won an open second-level allowance at Hollywood two races back and will be a tough foe if trainer Gary Stute ships her in.

$75,000 Rapid Transit

This race is at six furlongs ($16,000 eligibility) for 3-year-olds and up. The horse to beat is Little Thunder, trained by Dale Capuano. He was third in a $100,000 six-furlong stakes at Philadelphia Park in his latest and won the Artax at 7 1/2 furlongs at Gulfstream in April with a 110 Beyer.

Other contenders include Chicago invader Iron Rogue, the millionaire Full Moon Madness, now 11, and Crafty Schemer (107), who was a sharp second in a stakes-class allowance sprint at Delaware Park on June 13.

Must Win Soon was upset at 3-5 odds in his first local outing in an allowance sprint for Lake, but did win a $20,000 claimer at Philadelphia Park with a 106 Beyer.

$100,000 Tiara

This race is at 1 1/16 miles on the turf ($25,000 eligibility) for fillies and mares. The horse to beat is Strong Faith (92), who has won three minor stakes in northern California this year for Martin and was a good fourth in the Grade 3 Yerba Buena handicap two starts back.

Coded Princess (83) is Pletcher's first Claiming Crown starter. She was second in a similar starter allowance on the Churchill Downs turf June 24.

Moorebella (83) was claimed by Lake out of a $35,000 Belmont turf route June 16 when she was second at 9-5 odds. She won her prior four, all on grass.

Truth by Ruth (83) has finished strongly for a win and two seconds in her last four, all at Lone Star Park for highly ranked Texas trainer Danny Pish.

$100,000 Emerald

This race is at 1 1/16 miles on the turf ($25,000 eligibility) for 3-year-olds and up. The horse to beat is Al's Dearly Bred (85), now 9 and a winner of 16 turf races and $474,000. He is locally based and won his only two outings over this course this season.

Dr. Detroit (85) won the Maryland Million Turf in 2004 for trainer Ann Merryman and was a close third in that race last year.

$150,000 Jewel

This race is at 1 1/16 miles ($35,000 eligibility) for 3-year-olds and up. The horse to beat, Sinners N Saints (102), trained by Richard Dutrow Jr., has won 5 of 7 since beating $25,000 maiden claimers on July 15, 2005, to qualify for the Claiming Crown with no days to spare. He beat second-level allowance foes at Monmouth in May.

Come on Chas (99) earned a 95 Beyer winning a modest dirt stakes at 1 1/2 miles for high-percentage Larry Rivelli at Arlington two races back.

Me My Mine (93), claimed for $40,000 by Martin out of his latest win in northern California, has the most early speed and is a threat to steal this.

Sandbarr (99) won both his starts at Arlington with good stretch kick after being claimed by Stidham for $20,000 at Sam Houston Race Park in April.

As for the Lady Canterbury, last year's winner, Rue des Reves, comes back in good form, but may have a hard time repeating against Stidham's hard-hitting Stretching, a French import with solid form in Texas.