07/06/2005 11:00PM

Jewel lures two graded winners

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Benoit & Associates
Lord of the Game will be a solid favorite in the Jewel.

A total of 93 horses have been pre-entered for the seventh annual Claiming Crown, the seven-race, $650,000 series that will be run next Saturday, July 16, at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minn.

The most accomplished horse expected to compete in the Claiming Crown is Lord of the Game, who figures to be a solid favorite in the richest race, the $150,000 Jewel. Lord of the Game, based in Chicago with Tom Tomillo, won the Grade 2 Cornhusker last weekend at Prairie Meadows and has a career record of 7 for 8.

The Jewel also is expected to get Desert Boom, winner of the Grade 3 Berkeley Handicap at Golden Gate Fields in his last start.

As usual, horses from all over North America will be converging at Canterbury. Claiming Crown coordinator Nat Wess said 17 racing jurisdictions, including one Canadian province, will be represented, from New York to California and points in between.

"We really have a great group of horses," said Wess. "With Lord of the Game and Desert Boom, this is the first time we've ever had two graded winners in the same race."

The Claiming Crown races are run under starter-allowance conditions, with eligibility open to horses that have started for claiming prices ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 within the last year. Besides the Jewel, which drew 11 pre-entries, the other races and the corresponding number of pre-entries are the $125,000 Emerald (14); $100,000 Tiara (9); $100,000 Rapid Transit (14); $75,000 Glass Slipper (13); $50,000 Express (14); and $50,000 Iron Horse (18). Each race is limited to 14 starters.

A complete listing of all pre-entries are available on www.canterburypark.com.

This is just the second year that the Tiara, a grass route for fillies and mares, is being offered. The Claiming Crown normally has comprised six races, except when the Tiara was run in 2000. The 93 pre-entries is a series record, but that is partly explained by the expansion to seven races.

The Claiming Crown was first run in 1999. It has been held annually at Canterbury except for 2002, when it was run at Philadelphia Park.