09/01/2002 11:00PM

Shippers dominate in Claiming Crown


BENSALEM, Pa. - California-based Truly a Judge completed a super day for shippers by romping to a 5 1/4-length victory in the $145,500 Jewel Stakes, the featured event of the fourth annual Claiming Crown, held Saturday at blustery Philadelphia Park.

New York shippers Nowrass and Won Moro won the $125,000 Emerald and $71,500 Glass Slipper, respectively, while Chicago shipper Talknow won the $47,000 Express.

It was also a good day for jockey Jose Valdivia Jr., who won both the Jewel and Emerald Stakes. Valdivia, who won the Breeders' Cup Mile last year on Val Royal, served part of his apprenticeship at Philadelphia Park in the early 1990's.

Trainer David Bernstein and owners Ailshie Gaylord and Alan Aidekman tried to claim Truly a Judge last September for $20,000, but lost a 12-way shake for the horse. On Oct. 8, Bernstein won a four-way shake for the gelding, getting him for $20,000 at Santa Anita.

In nine previous starts for Bernstein, Truly a Judge had won three and never failed to pick up a check. Saturday may have been his most dominant effort yet, as he sat just off the pace-setting Gotthard, took command at the five-sixteenths pole and cruised home.

Truly a Judge covered the nine furlongs in 1:50.39 over a fast track and returned $5.20 as the favorite. Quiet Mike, who was unprepared for the start, finished second, six lengths ahead of 2-1 second choice Prince Iroquois, who was vanned off with an unspecified injury.

Emerald: Nowrass gets the green

Owner-trainer Kiaran McLaughlin shipped Nowrass down from Saratoga and went back to New York with all the money as his 6-year-old gelding scored a 1 1/2-length victory over Grade One in the $125,000 Emerald, the only Claiming Crown race on turf.

Nowrass, who was eligible for this race because he ran in a $17,500 claimer in his United States debut at Belmont in May, had been facing much tougher competition in New York in his last three starts. Under Valdivia, Nowrass made a strong middle move to gain the lead turning for home and held Grade One at bay.

Sent off the even-money favorite, Nowrass returned $4 after covering the 1 1/16 miles in 1:46.66 over a good turf course.

Rapid Transit: Risen Warrior rallies

A last-minute decision by trainer Jose Gallegos to run Risen Warrior paid off handsomely as the 6-year-old son of Lost Code took advantage of a hot early pace and rallied down the center of the track to win the $100,000 Rapid Transit by 3 1/4 lengths.

Yavapai finished second, 1 1/2 lengths ahead of stablemate Largeandincharge. Brown Eyed Major, the 8-5 favorite, finished sixth.

Risen Warrior, claimed by Robert Amendola for $25,000 last fall, hadn't been out since July 2 when he popped a quarter crack finishing fourth in an allowance race. That and a couple of other minor infirmities had Gallegos thinking of skipping this race. But a sharp 58.80-second workout by Risen Warrior on Monday prompted Gallegos to enter him.

Under Stewart Elliott, who won four races on the card, Risen Warrior covered six furlongs in 1:09.28 and returned $7.60 as the second choice.

Iron Horse: Sixth Crown win for Lake

Trainer Scott Lake won his sixth Claiming Crown race when favorite Ruskin ($3.60) rallied three wide turning for home and drew clear late to win the $46,500 Iron Horse by 2 1/2 lengths under Jose Flores. Regal Tour finished second, a neck in front of Entrepreneurship. Ruskin, a 9-year-old gelded son of Lac Ouimet covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.37.

Lake is the only trainer to have won more than one Claiming Crown race, taking three races in 2000 and two last year when the event was held at Canterbury. For Flores, it was his fourth Claiming Crown victory, the most of any jockey in the series.

Express: Talknow continues roll

Arlington shipper Talknow lived up to his 9-10 odds by blowing past pacesetter Divisonal Champ around the turn and drawing off to a 3 1/4-length victory in the $47,000 Express. Danny E finished second, 4 1/4 lengths clear of Wise Sweep.

It was the ninth victory in 14 starts for Talknow since he was claimed by trainer Thomas Tomillo and Emilio Geloso for $5,000 last October. Talknow, an Arkansas-bred son of Pick Up the Phone, covered the six furlongs in 1:09.29 and returned $3.80 to win.

Glass Slipper: Won Moro wins

Won Moro rallied four-wide past 6-5 favorite Final Dispersal to win the $75,000 Glass Slipper by a half-length. Dandy Dulce, a 30-1 shot, finished second and Playmera finished third. Gerard Melancon, in his Philadelphia Park debut, rode Won Moro, who covered 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:17.01 and returned $10.