07/06/2006 12:00AM

Claiming Crown draws 83


A total of 83 horses have been pre-entered in the seven races comprising the July 15 Claiming Crown at Canterbury Park, the showcase of the meet at the Minnesota racetrack. The Claiming Crown card also is home to Canterbury's most prestigious stakes race, the Lady Canterbury Breeders' Cup Handicap.

Pre-entries range from a high of 16 in the $100,000 Tiara, for females going long on turf, to a low of just six in the Jewel. Somewhat illogically, the Jewel, for 3-year-olds and up going long on dirt, is the day's richest race, with a $150,000 purse.

All seven of the Claiming Crown races are run under starter-allowance conditions; the horses must have raced for an established claiming price in each race. To be eligible for the Jewel, a horse must have run in a claiming race for a price of $35,000 or less.

The favorite in the 1 1/16-mile Jewel figures to be Sinners N Saints, who will ship from New York for trainer Rick Dutrow. Sandburr, a winner of three straight, the last two at Arlington Park, also will have his supporters.

Chicago is well represented, with 11 pre-entries, but 11 more horses are based in the Mid-Atlantic region, a contingent led by trainer Scott Lake, whose five pre-entries are the most from any trainer. Lake gave several of his starters a prep race over the Canterbury surface in an effort to end a Claiming Crown slump during the last couple seasons.

There are six horses from California, but just two from New York. In both areas, high-end claiming purses are in the same range as the purses for four of the seven Claiming Crown races.

Wednesday's pre-entries were phase one of a two-step process by which horses get into the Claiming Crown races. A pre-entry fee equaling one-half of 1 percent of the particular race's purse was due Wednesday, with another half-percent fee required at entry time. All Claiming Crown starters are guaranteed a minimum of 1 percent of the purse, regardless of finishing position.