07/15/2005 11:00PM

Desert Boom over Lord of the Game

Beth Rutzebeck, Canterbury Park
Desert Boom wins the Claiming CrownJewel on Saturday at Canterbury Park.

SHAKOPEE, Minn. - Desert Boom led every step of the way under Roberto Gonzalez to defeat Lord of the Game in the $138,000 , highlight of the seventh annual Claiming Crown series Saturday at Canterbury Park.

Desert Boom, a northern California invader owned by Bob Bone and trained by Art Sherman, returned $4.60 as the second choice. A 5-year-old California-bred gelding, Desert Boom entered off a victory in the Grade 3 Berkeley Handicap at Golden Gate Fields, and was one of three graded stakes winners in a field of six.

The other graded winners, Lord of the Game and Habaneros, were second and third. For Lord of the Game, the slight favorite at 6-5, the defeat was just his second in nine career starts.

On a steamy afternoon, and before an estimated ontrack crowd of 11,000, Desert Boom broke sharpest to make the pace, with Lord of the Game pursuing closest. From gate to wire, there was very little change in the order, other than the top three finishers kept getting farther ahead of the others. Lord of the Game finished 2 3/4 lengths behind the winner and six lengths ahead of Habaneros.

Gonzalez said Sherman "gave me the green light to make the lead if it's there. That's what happened."

Desert Boom, now a winner of 14 of 33 starts, finished 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.32 over a fast main track.

The Jewel was the last of seven races in the Claiming Crown, a $650,000 series restricted to horses that had raced for claiming prices ranging from $25,000 to $5,000 within the last year.

Emerald: Mr. Mabee romps

Mr. Mabee ($8), the slight favorite in what appeared to be the most evenly matched race of the series, the $122,500 , made a mockery of the 1 1/16-mile turf race when he glided away in midstretch to a 5 1/4-length victory. Sigfreto, the 7-2 second choice, rallied to be second in a field of 12.

Ridden by Derek Bell, Mr. Mabee finished in 1:41.77 over a firm course. Based at Fairmount Park for owner William Stiritz and trainer Jimmy Zook, Mr. Mabee won for the third straight time.

"I had so much horse, I was just a pilot," said Bell.

Mr. Mabee, claimed in April at Hawthorne in Chicago, was named for his late breeder, John Mabee of Golden Eagle Farm.

Rapid Transit: Procreate wires

Procreate ($10.60), always in front under Heberto Castillo Jr., turned back a determined challenge from The Student to win the $93,000 by 1 1/2 lengths. Crafty Player finished third, another 3 1/2 lengths back, while Rodeo's Castle, the 3-2 favorite, finished fourth after giving closest chase to the eventual winner.

"This horse has just gotten better and better," said Harry Nye, who with Thomas McClay is the co-owner of Procreate, a 7-year-old gelding.

Procreate, based at Penn National with trainer John Zimmerman, finished 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:14.54.

Zimmerman and Steve Asmussen, who earlier in the day won the Iron Horse with My Extolled Honor, became the first trainers since Scott Lake to win more than one race in Claiming Crown history. Lake, the trainer of The Student, has six Claiming Crown wins.

Tiara: Inhonorofjohnnie all the way

Inhonorofjohnnie ($23.20) led throughout to upset six other filly-mare turfers in the $93,000 for locally based owner-trainer Owen McQuade.

Ridden by Mike Ziegler, Inohonorofjohnnie suddenly spurted away to a big lead on the far turn and finished two lengths clear of O.K. Corral. Out of Pride, the 6-5 favorite, was never a factor and finished fifth.

Inhonorjohnnie, a 4-year-old Florida-bred filly, finished 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.51 in winning her first stakes. "She has such a big heart," said Ziegler.

Glass Slipper: One for the locals

Ells Editor ($26.40) scored the first victory for the home team when she surged past a pair of dueling front-runners in deep stretch in the $72,000 .

I Will Survive began to edge clear in midstretch, after she and Peekaboo Cat had been battling for the lead since soon after the start of the 6 1/2-furlong race. But then Ells Editor, ridden by Scott Stevens, came rolling to prevail by a neck. I Will Survive had a length on Peekaboo Cat.

"I had a dream trip," said Stevens, the all-time leading rider at Canterbury.

Ells Editor, a 4-year-old Editor's Note filly, is based at Canterbury with trainer Percy Scherbenske.

The stakes win was the first for owners Doris and Stanley Holland of Illinois.

Unforgettable Gal, the 11-10 favorite in a field of 10 fillies and mares, had dead aim turning for home and finished sixth, snapping her six-race win streak.

Express: A track record

Onlynurimagination ($3.80) broke a 15-year-old track record when he finished six furlongs in a snappy 1:08.04 in the $46,500 .

Ridden by Bobby Walker Jr., Onlynurimagination raced alongside Cicero Grimes for the early lead before pulling away in the turn and putting the race away. Cicero Grimes, the 3-1 second choice, finished 3 1/2 lengths back in second.

Onlynurimagination, a 6-year-old gelding based in Kentucky with trainer Merrill Scherer, broke the record of 1:08.60 set on May 6, 1990, by So Long Seoul. He is owned by Scherer and Debbie Isaacs.

Iron Horse: 'Honor' wins for Asmussen

My Extolled Honor ($7.20), ridden by Castillo, rallied to win the series opener, the $49,000 , by a half-length over King of Chicago. R. Little Redhead, the 9-5 favorite, faded badly to finish last in a field of 12.

My Extolled Honor, owned by Asmussen and Robert Asaro, had just one horse beaten early in the 1 1/16-mile race, "but I wasn't concerned because he settled so nice for me," said Castillo. "Then he started picking them up real easy, and I knew we had a big chance."