Updated on 09/16/2011 8:47AM

Purses up, so claiming runs amok

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EDMONTON, Alberta - A rent-a-horse philosophy is thriving here at Northlands Park.

The record amount of claiming this spring at Stampede Park, in which about 125 horses changed hands for a total outlay of $1.4 million, is carrying over to the summer meet at Northlands.

The rush to the claims box can be attributed in good part to the bumper purses offered this year as a result of revenue from more than 250 slot machines. And there is no sign of a slowdown because more than 500 slots will be operating by the end of the month after the first phase of reconstruction of the Northlands Spectrum is complete.

A circular issued by the Alberta HBPA suggests the "significant injection of money into the purse pool will allow us to reach our 2006 goals by 2003."

As a result of the increased purse structure, horsemen believe they quickly can recover the purchase prices of their claims.

In the first 11 cards at this meeting, 56 horses had changed hands for a total cash outlay of $574,750.

Local breeders also are sharing in the prosperity. A prominent breeder recently said, "I sold three off the farm the other day for three times what I would have received two or three years ago."

Two of the more active trainers in claiming are Ron Grieves and Dale Saunders, who took four horses apiece within three weeks. Grieves has spent $71,000 and Saunders has spent $45,500.

Mike Glazier, Joan Petrowski, and Riley Rycroft each made three claims, for totals of $19,500, $33,000, and $39,250 respectively.

In all, 42 trainers have claimed horses this meet.

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