11/16/2012 3:11PM

Gulfstream: Claiming Crown expected to draw big fields for all races

Barbara D. Livingston
Grade 1 King’s Bishop winner Willy Beamin is considered a candidate for the $200,000 Claiming Crown Jewel at Gulfstream Park.

From the looks of the nomination sheets for the 2012 Claiming Crown races, horseplayers can expect big fields to abound opening day at Gulfstream Park.

A total of 232 nominations were received for the seven Claiming Crown races, no fewer than 26 horses in any one race. The two turf races on the program proved the most popular with 50 runners made eligible for the $125,000 Emerald and 40 fillies and mares for the $125,000 Tiara.

The feature race on the program, the $200,000 Jewel, lured 26 possible starters. The list is topped by Willy Beamin, hero of the Grade 1 King’s Bishop this summer at Saratoga, and Grade 3 winner Second City, who exits a ninth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. The Jewel is restricted to horses who have started for a claiming price of $35,000 or less in 2011.

King David and King Kreesa, the first- and second-place finishers in the Grade 1 Jamaica Handicap on Oct. 6 at Belmont Park, could meet again in the Emerald. King David who won the Grade 1 Jamacia Handicap just 23 days after being claimed for $35,000 by trainer Michael Maker. King Kreesa won his maiden for $25,000 last spring at Aqueduct.

The Claiming Crown is being hosted by Gulfstream Park for the first time this year.

Little Drama turns in five-furlong bullet

Action is beginning to pick up in the mornings at both Gulfstream and Palm Meadows in preparation for the Dec. 1 opening.

A total of 27 horses worked on Wednesday at Gulfstream, including Little Drama, who zipped a bullet five-eighths in 58.92 seconds for trainer Michael Mareina. Little Drama finished third at Gulfstream last spring in the Grade 3 Swale when stabled with David Fawkes and is coming off a second-place finish in Belmont Park’s Grade 3 Bold Ruler.

Friday’s Gulfstream tab was even busier with another 49 runners receiving officially recorded workout times.