Updated on 09/17/2011 10:56AM

Claiming Crown draws 88


A record number of pre-entries was released Wednesday for the fifth annual , the $550,000, six-race series that will be run July 19 at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minn.

Eighty-eight horses, including seven who were cross-entered in more than one race, were pre-entered, easily surpassing the 77 attracted by the inaugural Claiming Crown in 1999. The number of starters in each race is limited to 14. Every race drew at least 12 pre-entries.

"It's a huge number, particularly the 18 or 19 pre-entries we received from the East and Mid-Atlantic," Claiming Crown coordinator Nat Wess said Wednesday from Canterbury. "We also have horses from California, Chicago, Kentucky, Texas, Iowa, and here at Canterbury. It's a nice distribution across the board."

The richest race in the series is the $150,000 Jewel, but probably the deepest is the $100,000 Rapid Transit, a six-furlong race that drew Pioneer Boy, winner of the Grade 3 Maryland Breeders' Cup in May, and Debonair Joe, a two-time graded stakes winner in Southern California.

Hall of Fame jockey Julie Krone, who was to return Thursday at Hollywood Park after four months away due to injury, is expected to ride Debonair Joe. Krone figures to have at least two other mounts in the Claiming Crown, said Wess.

The favorites for the 1 1/8-mile Jewel could be Northwest Hill, Patton's Victory, Woostershear, and Native Two Stepper.

The other Crown races are the $125,000 Emerald, $75,000 Glass Slipper, $50,000 Express, and $50,000 Iron Horse.

Pre-entry and entry fees are both 0.5 percent of the total purse of a particular race. There also is a starting fee of 1 percent, but, as a built-in incentive for larger fields, every starter automatically earns at least 1 percent of the purse.

Entries will be drawn July 16 at a press breakfast at Canterbury.

All Claiming Crown races are restricted to horses who have started for claiming prices ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 since July 15, 2002. Since the first running, Canterbury has hosted the Claiming Crown every year except last year, when Philadelphia Park was the host.

Canterbury's entire 11-race card on July 19 will be used for the Claiming Crown Day Handicapping Contest, a free online contest sponsored in part by the NTRA. Although there are no monetary prizes, the top four finishers will earn berths in the Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Finals in Las Vegas in January. To pre-register, log on to .

Television Games Network will have a crew on-site and will use Canterbury as a featured track on Claiming Crown Day.