08/20/2002 11:00PM

Claiming Crown draws intriguing lot

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A horse who ran second in a graded stakes earlier this year, a track record-holder, and a runner who was able to score after running the first six furlongs of a seven-furlong stakes in 1:08 and change are among the 71 horses pre-entered for next Saturday's Claiming Crown Championships at Philadelphia Park.

The fields for the six Claiming Crown races will be finalized on Tuesday. Based on the pre-entries, there could be full fields of 14 in the $150,000 Jewel at 1 1/8 miles and the $125,000 Emerald, the lone turf race. The $100,000 Rapid Transit at 6 1/2 furlongs for sprinters drew 13 pre-entries.

Each of the other three races - the 1 1/16-mile Iron Horse, the six-furlong Express, and the 6 1/2-furlong Glass Slipper for fillies and mares - attracted 10 pre-entries.

Among the intriguing names among the pre-entries are Prince Iroquois in the Jewel, Splendeed in the Emerald, and Talknow in the Express.

Claimed for $50,000 in early April by trainer Cole Norman, the 5-year-old Prince Iroquois ran second to Congaree two starts later in the Grade 3 Lone Star Park Handicap, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 106. He most recently won a $50,000 stakes at Louisiana Downs with a Beyer Figure of 101.

Splendeed set a track record for five furlongs over Pimlico's turf course when he won the Ben Cohen Stakes in 56.10 seconds in May. All of his turf success, however, has come in races seven furlongs or shorter. If he runs in the Emerald, Splendeed will have to stretch his speed to 1 1/16 miles.

Talknow, claimed for $5,000 last October, most recently ran third in a $100,000 claiming race. Talknow's 6-for-9 record this season includes a win in a seven-furlong overnight stakes at Arlington Park in which he was clocked in 1:08.31 through six furlongs. He earned a Beyer of 100 for a final time of 1:21.80.