By Christine Oser | Courtesy of The BloodHorse
Stakes winners found throughout Dec. 7 Claiming Crown entries at Gulfstream.
The Claiming Crown returns to Gulfstream Park Dec. 7 to celebrate the hard-knocking horses on the racetrack. Eleven races are scheduled at the South Florida track Saturday, nine of which are starter stakes for horses who have raced for a tag. The centerpiece is the $200,000 Claiming Crown Jewel for 3-year-olds and up which have started for $35,000 or less since Jan. 1, 2018.
The 1 1/8-mile Jewel attracted nine entries, including Shirley Lojeski’s Pennsylvania homebred Forest Fire. The 4-year-old Friesan Fire gelding rides a three-race win streak into the Jewel, and last out Oct. 19 he scored his first stakes win in the Maryland Million Classic Stakes at Laurel Park. It was the third stakes attempt for Forest Fire, was second beaten less than a length in the 2018 Private Terms Stakes at Laurel.
“He had shown that he was a stake horse early on in his career,” trainer John Servis said. “In his third or fourth start we put him in a stake and he got beat by three-quarters of a length, so we always knew he had talent.”
Forest Fire became sidelined later in 2018 with a knee chip and had a throat issue that needed addressing after returning to the races this year. Since then, he won two allowance optional claimers at Parx Racing before annexing the Maryland Million Classic, his first race at 1 1/8 miles.
“He seems to be getting even better. Paco Lopez rode him in Maryland and he thought there was a lot of horse left,” Servis said. “He felt like he was just toying with those horses. We’re excited about him going in the right direction and seeing what he is.”
Forest Fire will carry co-highweight of 124 pounds in the Jewel along Leitone, trained by the other Servis brother, Jason.
A dual group 1 winner in his native Chile, Leitone made his first U.S. start in August 2018 and 10 months later, M and A Racing Stable claimed him June 16 at Belmont Park for $12,500. The 5-year-old son of Dunkirk won that 1 1/16-mile race by 13 3/4 lengths. He enters off another win, by 7 1/4 lengths, over that same course and distance Oct. 25 when racing for $50,000 claiming.
Also entered is Town and Country Racing’s Third Day, third in the Ben Ali Stakes (G3) during Keeneland‘s spring meet. The 5-year-old son of Bernardini trained by Brian Lynch was reported gelded in early October and has won two of three starts since—a two-turn claiming race at Churchill Downs and a one-mile, off-the-turf allowance optional claimer there, the latter resulting in a three-length victory.
Saturday will also feature two $125,000, 1 1/16-mile turf events for horses that have started for $25,000 or less since Jan. 1, 2018—the Claiming Crown Emerald and the Claiming Crown Tiara for fillies and mares.
Twelve horses were entered in the Emerald, including AJ Suited Racing Stable’s Dontblamerocket. The 5-year-old Blame gelding was a $50,000 claim at Churchill Downs in May, and has won two starter allowances since with trainer Norm Casse.
Dontblamerocket went up to Saratoga Race Course to capture a race at 1 1/8 miles on turf before winning at one mile and 70 yards at Kentucky Downs. He enters the Emerald off a three-month layoff from the Kentucky Downs victory.
“He’s just one of those types of horses that we really like. He always shows up and he always runs his race,” Casse said. “He’s always ultra-competitive. We’ve been really lucky because we’ve been able to find some really good spots for him and we’ve spaced his races out accordingly. He’s just rewarded us with the confidence that we’ve put into him.”
An overflow field was drawn for the Tiara. Set for the outside post of 12 is SJT Racing Stable’s homebred Lady Alida, a black-type winner this year on Gulfstream’s turf who will carry high weight of 126 pounds. Alfredo Lichoa trains the 4-year-old Street Sense filly, who has hit the board in 11 of 15 starts in 2019. Lady Alida won the Treasure Coast Stakes at a mile in July, and was third in the 1 1/16-mile Monroe Stakes in late September.
Stakes winners from this year are found throughout the card. Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables, and Bethlehem Stables’ Shekky Shebaz, third in the Nov. 2 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1T), is among the classiest in the $110,000 Claiming Crown Canterbury, a five-furlong turf sprint for horses that have started for $25,000 or less since Jan. 1, 2018.
Shekky Shebaz was trained and owned by Adam Rice though mid summer before purchased by his current connections and sent to Jason Servis following a front-running victory in a fast turf sprint at Saratoga, where he was entered for a $25,000 tag. The 4-year-old Cape Blanco gelding then won the Lucky Coin Stakes at the Spa, running 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf in 1:01.18, less than a second off the track record. Shekky Shebaz then finished a close second in the Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational Stakes before running third in the Breeders’ Cup.
The $110,000 Claiming Crown Express, six furlongs for horses that have started for $8,000 during their lifetime, features a competitive trio is stakes winners Fast Pass, Whyruawesome, and Travy Boy. Fast Pass is making his first start since the Sept. 8 Keeneland Korea Sprint (G1). Although the U.S. horses did not hit the board that day on the deep, muddy track following recent typhoon rains, he won black-type at Gulfstream in the Opening Lead Stakes late May, and a month later was graded placed in the Smile Sprint Stakes (G3).
Whyruawesome earned a pair of black-type placings this year, including a runner-up effort Sept. 28 in the Mr. Prospector Stakes at Monmouth Park. That race was preceded by three straight victories at the starter and allowance levels.
Travy Boy is throwing his hat in the ring after winning his stakes debut in Gulfstream Park West’s Nov. 9 Millions Sprint Preview Stakes.
Stakes winners First Deal and Royal Squeeze will face off in the $110,000 Claiming Crown Rapid Transit, seven furlongs for horses that have started for $16,000 or less since Jan. 1, 2018. First Deal has won his last three races, including scores in the Decathlon Stakes and Jersey Shore Stakes, both at Monmouth Park. Royal Squeeze, looking for a rebound following four consecutive losses, won Gulfstream’s Big Drama Stakes in May and in August was defeated a neck in the Benny The Bull Stakes.
Gulfstream will also hold the Claiming Crown Glass Slipper, one mile for fillies and mares that have started for $12,500 or less since Jan. 1, 2018; the $110,000 Claiming Crown Distaff Dash, five furlongs on the turf for fillies and mares that have started for $25,000 since Jan. 1, 2018; and the $110,000 Claiming Crown Iron Horse, 1 1/16 miles for horses that have started for $8,000 or less lifetime.
Entries: Claming Crown Express Stakes
Gulfstream Park, Saturday, December 7, 2019, Race 2
SST | 6f | Dirt | $110,000 | 3 yo’s & up | 12:18 PM (local)
|1||Harryhee (FL)||Luca Panici||120||Brett McLellan|
|2||Travy Boy (FL)||Paco Lopez||126||Gilberto Zerpa|
|3||Northern (FL)||Tyler Gaffalione||120||Michael J. Maker|
|4||Fast Pass (KY)||Cristian A. Torres||126||Peter R. Walder|
|5||Brother Chub (NJ)||Jorge A. Vargas, Jr.||126||Michael M. Moore|
|6||Nick the Cardshark (FL)||Jairo Rendon||122||Jose H. Delgado|
|7||Tale of Fire (KY)||Emisael Jaramillo||124||Jorge Navarro|
|8||Take Charge Dude (FL)||Ricardo Santana, Jr.||124||Saffie A. Joseph, Jr.|
|9||Whyruawesome (KY)||Kendrick Carmouche||124||Jorge Navarro|
|10||Bordini (KY)||Jermaine V. Bridgmohan||120||Cheryl Winebaugh|
Entries: Claming Crown Glass Slipper Stakes
Gulfstream Park, Saturday, December 7, 2019, Race 4
SST | 1m | Dirt | $110,000 | 3 yo’s & up Fillies and Mares | 1:17 PM (local)
|1||Picasso Moon (KY)||Emisael Jaramillo||124||Jorge Navarro|
|2||Liza Star (FL)||Ricardo Santana, Jr.||124||Peter R. Walder|
|3||Lucy’s Town (KY)||Jose Lezcano||122||Kelly J. Breen|
|4||Expect Indy (IN)||Tyler Gaffalione||126||Georgina Baxter|
|5||Cuddle Kitten (KY)||Kendrick Carmouche||126||Jorge Navarro|
|6||Kodiak Katie (NJ)||Jorge A. Vargas, Jr.||124||Kelly J. Breen|
|7||Potra Liza (KY)||Paco Lopez||124||Jorge Navarro|
|8||Final Flurry (KY)||Chris Landeros||124||Kendall Condie|
|9||She’s Right Again (KY)||Cristian A. Torres||124||Peter R. Walder|
|10||All Good Times (FL)||Jairo Rendon||120||John Rigattieri|
Entries: Claming Crown Distaff Dash Stakes
Gulfstream Park, Saturday, December 7, 2019, Race 5
SST | 5f | Turf | $110,000 | 3 yo’s & up Fillies and Mares | 1:47 PM (local)
|1||Unaquoi (WV)||Jorge A. Vargas, Jr.||124||Ollie L. Figgins, III|
|2||Stetson Gold (KY)||Kendrick Carmouche||122||Joseph Taylor|
|3||Thinkin Cowtown (FL)||Tyler Gaffalione||120||Georgina Baxter|
|4||Band of Angels (FL)||Jose C. Ferrer||122||Jorge Navarro|
|5||R Next Roll (FL)||Nik Juarez||120||Georgina Baxter|
|6||Same Kinda Crazy (NY)||Edgar S. Prado||120||Luis M. Ramirez|
|7||Glory Roll (FL)||Jairo Rendon||118||Joseph F. Orseno|
|8||Blue Magic (KY)||Victor Lebron||120||Luis M. Ramirez|
|9||Dance Till Dawn (FL)||Emisael Jaramillo||118||Philip M. Serpe|
Entries: Claming Crown Rapid Transit Stakes
Gulfstream Park, Saturday, December 7, 2019, Race 6
SST | 7f | Dirt | $110,000 | 3 yo’s & up | 2:20 PM (local)
|1||Rayo My King (KY)||Rajiv Maragh||120||Herbert Miller|
|2||Rol Again Question (MD)||Jairo Rendon||122||Jose H. Delgado|
|3||Just Kidding (FL)||Ricardo Santana, Jr.||120||Robert B. Hess, Jr.|
|4||Royal Squeeze (FL)||Paco Lopez||126||Elizabeth L. Dobles|
|5||Empire Power (KY)||Jose Lezcano||124||Antonio Sano|
|6||Yodel E. A. Who (KY)||Tyler Gaffalione||122||Saffie A. Joseph, Jr.|
|7||Who’s Out (KY)||Emisael Jaramillo||122||Jorge Navarro|
|8||First Deal (FL)||Hector Rafael Diaz, Jr.||124||Jorge Navarro|
|9||Benefactor (KY)||Kendrick Carmouche||122||Jorge Navarro|
|10||D T Goodie (PA)||Nik Juarez||120||Joseph Taylor|
Entries: Claming Crown Canterbury Stakes
Gulfstream Park, Saturday, December 7, 2019, Race 7
SST | 5f | Dirt | $110,000 | 3 yo’s & up | 2:52 PM (local)
|1||New York’s Finest (NY)||Jose C. Ferrer||120||J. Kent Sweezey|
|2||Krsto Skye (KY)||Nik Juarez||120||Robert B. Hess, Jr.|
|3||Shekky Shebaz (KY)||Paco Lopez||124||Jason Servis|
|4||Pemaquid Pete (FL)||Cristian A. Torres||122||Teresa Connelly|
|5||Tiger Blood (FL)||Ricardo Santana, Jr.||120||Steve Klesaris|
|6||Soldollie (FL)||Tony Maragh||124||Herbert Miller|
|7||Diamond Majesty (KY)||Julien R. Leparoux||120||Patrick L. Biancone|
|8||Cryogenic (FL)||Jorge A. Vargas, Jr.||122||Michael J. Maker|
|9||Rocket Heat (KY)||Chris Landeros||126||Michael Tannuzzo|
|10||Faction Cat (FL)||Tyler Gaffalione||124||Georgina Baxter|
|11||Mar Vista Miguel (NY)||Rajiv Maragh||120||Rohan Crichton|
Entries: Claming Crown Iron Horse Stakes
Gulfstream Park, Saturday, December 7, 2019, Race 8
SST | 1 1/16m | Dirt | $110,000 | 3 yo’s & up | 3:24 PM (local)
|1||Bobby G (KY)||Edgar S. Prado||120||Jose Corrales|
|2||To Dare (KY)||Julien R. Leparoux||120||Ralph E. Nicks|
|3||Dizzy Gillespie (SC)||Cristian A. Torres||122||Peter R. Walder|
|4||Ruler of the Nile (KY)||Ricardo Santana, Jr.||124||Michael E. Lauer|
|5||Peppi the Hunter (KY)||Kendrick Carmouche||122||Jorge Navarro|
|6||Sensational Ride (GA)||Jose A. Bracho||122||Peter R. Walder|
|7||Salsa’s Return (FL)||Emisael Jaramillo||124||Jorge Navarro|
|8||Yes I See (WV)||Rajiv Maragh||122||Peter R. Walder|
|9||Twocubanbrothersu (KY)||Jairo Rendon||126||John Rigattieri|
|10||Spin Cycle (NY)||Nik Juarez||124||J. Kent Sweezey|
|11||Donji (KY)||Paco Lopez||124||Elizabeth L. Dobles|
|12||French Quarter (FL)||Tyler Gaffalione||124||Michael J. Maker|
|13||Mr Chaplin (KY)||Santiago Gonzalez||120||Bernardo Campos|
Entries: Claming Crown Tiara Stakes
Gulfstream Park, Saturday, December 7, 2019, Race 9
SST | 1 1/16m | Turf | $125,000 | 3 yo’s & up Fillies and Mares | 3:56 PM (local)
|1||Arabella Bella (KY)||Tyler Gaffalione||122||Michael J. Maker|
|2||Bareeqa (NY)||Jose Lezcano||124||Danny Gargan|
|3||Diamond Play (NJ)||Nik Juarez||124||Anthony R. Margotta, Jr.|
|4||Drinks On Me (KY)||Edgar Perez||122||Cheryl Winebaugh|
|5||Passion Plus (FL)||Jairo Rendon||120||Antonio Sano|
|6||Lucky Long (KY)||Paco Lopez||120||Rohan Crichton|
|7||Vip Nation (NY)||Kendrick Carmouche||122||Bruce N. Levine|
|8||Bienville Street (FL)||Cristian A. Torres||124||Cam M. Gambolati|
|9||Una Luna (FL)||Emisael Jaramillo||120||Jose A. Gallegos|
|10||Raki (FL)||Carlos D. Lugo||120||Eduardo Azpurua, Jr.|
|11||Amazing Audrey (KY)||Ricardo Santana, Jr.||122||Antonio Sano|
|12||Lady Alida (KY)||Santiago Gonzalez||126||Alfredo Lichoa|
|13||Codrington (NY)||Santiago Gonzalez||120||Michael J. Maker|
|14||Pugilist (KY)||Jorge A. Vargas, Jr.||120||Michael J. Maker|
|15||Britesideoftheroad (KY)||Rajiv Maragh||120||Shamir Maragh|
|16||Trieste (BRZ)||Hector Isaac Berrios||120||Amador Merei Sanchez|
Entries: Claming Crown Jewel Stakes
Gulfstream Park, Saturday, December 7, 2019, Race 10
SST | 1 1/8m | Dirt | $200,000 | 3 yo’s & up | 4:28 PM (local)
|1||Holiday Bonus (KY)||Ricardo Santana, Jr.||120||Jorge Navarro|
|2||Third Day (KY)||Julien R. Leparoux||122||Brian A. Lynch|
|3||Forest Fire (PA)||Paco Lopez||124||John C. Servis|
|4||Create Again (KY)||Victor Lebron||120||Rasharn Creque|
|5||Leitone (CHI)||Jose Lezcano||124||Jason Servis|
|6||Aequor (KY)||Nik Juarez||120||Oscar M. Gonzalez|
|7||Ekhtibaar (KY)||Kendrick Carmouche||120||Jorge Navarro|
|8||Degrom (KY)||Tyler Gaffalione||122||J. Tyler Servis|
|9||Noble Thought (KY)||Jorge A. Vargas, Jr.||122||Michael J. Maker|
Entries: Claming Crown Emerald Stakes
Gulfstream Park, Saturday, December 7, 2019, Race 11
SST | 1 1/16m | Turf | $125,000 | 3 yo’s & up | 5:00 PM (local)
|1||Fifth Title (KY)||Victor Lebron||120||Rasharn Creque|
|2||Tusk (KY)||Ricardo Santana, Jr.||124||Saffie A. Joseph, Jr.|
|3||Hieroglyphics (KY)||Jose Lezcano||122||Kiaran P. McLaughlin|
|4||Apreciado (KY)||Tyler Gaffalione||124||Michael J. Maker|
|5||Muggsamatic (FL)||Paco Lopez||122||Jason Servis|
|6||Driven by Thunder (FL)||Hector Isaac Berrios||124||Amador Merei Sanchez|
|7||Dontblamerocket (KY)||Julien R. Leparoux||124||Norm W. Casse|
|8||Patriot Drive (KY)||Jorge A. Vargas, Jr.||122||Michael J. Maker|
|9||And Won (FL)||Edgar Perez||124||Anthony J. Granitz|
|10||Max K. O. (FL)||Kendrick Carmouche||122||Robert N. Falcone, Jr.|
|11||Spring Up (FL)||Jairo Rendon||120||Jose H. Delgado|
|12||King of Spades (KY)||Nik Juarez||120||Kelly J. Breen|