07/18/2006 12:00AM

Davis wins $50,000 top prize

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Aided by a successful $10 exacta wager in the Claiming Crown Express, Michelle Davis claimed the top prize of $50,000 in the Claiming Crown Ultimate Handicappers Open at Canterbury Park on July 15. Davis also won a seat at the 2007 DRF/NTRA at Bally's Las Vegas.

Davis suffered through some anxious moments as Express winner Castello d'Oro ($71.80) clipped heels after being bumped at the start. The gelded son of Stolen Gold soon found himself five paths wide on the turn before uncorking a solid rally to get up in the late stretch. Philadelphia Park invader Texmckay completed the exacta at 7-1 odds for trainer Bernell Rhone. The exotic wager paid $325.90 for a $1 investment, and propelled Davis to the highest contest bankroll with $5,200.

Steve Flaherty finished second with a bankroll of $4,141. He earned $11,800 in prize money. Third place finisher Bill Shurman picked up a check for $5,900. Since Shurman had previously qualified for the NHC, fourth finisher Randy Gallo Jr. received an entry to the NHC along with $3,540 in prize money. Richard Freeman rounded out the top five finishers, and earned a check for $2,360.

The Claiming Crown Ultimate Handicappers Open involved a $1,000 entry fee as well as a $1,000 live bankroll. Contestants were required to bet at least half of their bankroll on six of the seven Claiming Crown Races plus the Lady Canterbury Breeders' Cup Stakes.