HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Gulfstream Park announced today it will kick off its 2015-16 Championship Meet Saturday, Dec. 5 with the 17th running of the $1.1 million Claiming Crown.
It will mark the fourth consecutive year the Claiming Crown has been contested at Gulfstream Park. Last year's Claiming Crown, which had total handle of more than $10 million, featured eight races. This year's Claiming Crown will feature a ninth race - a 5-furlong turf sprint for fillies and mares with a purse of $110,000. The feature event will again be the $200,000 Jewel, won last year by the 17-1 longshot Catholic Cowboy.
Created in 1999 to honor the blue-collar horses that are the foundation of the racing industry nationwide, the Claiming Crown historically has drawn entries from all parts of North America and from many of the country's leading stables.
The Claiming Crown is a “joint venture” between the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA). The Claiming Crown was created to be the claiming horse owner’s Breeders’ Cup; a special racing event, created for the “average owner,” and featuring some of the most competitive horses in the country. The Claiming Crown has been held annually since 1999.
"We're looking forward to playing host to the Claiming Crown once again and kicking off our Championship Meet with this great event," said Gulfstream General Manager and The Stronach Group's Vice President of Racing P.J. Campo. "Support for the Claiming Crown from horsemen around North America has been incredible the past three years, and we're already getting calls about this year's event. We're also looking forward to working with our partners at TOBA and the HBPA to put on another great show."
Dan Metzger, president of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, said: "We’re very excited about returning to Gulfstream Park for the fourth consecutive year. The Claiming Crown races averaged nearly 12 starters in the previous three years at Gulfstream and with $1.1 million in purses and the new filly and mare turf sprint, the 2015 event promises another great start to the Championship Meet at Gulfstream Park.”
“The National HBPA is extremely pleased that once again we can look forward to the Claiming Crown being held at Gulfstream Park," said Eric J. Hamelback, CEO, The National HBPA. "We owe our sincere gratitude to the Florida HBPA and the racing management at Gulfstream Park for having an even stronger commitment in 2015, to ensure this event is a highlight comparable to many of racing’s premier days. Being able to partner with Gulfstream Park and TOBA for this premier event ensures that these races will provide a wonderful opportunity for many owners and trainers throughout the country."
The remainder of Gulfstream's 2015-16 Championship Meet stakes schedule will be released sometime in the next 4-to-8 weeks.
TOBA (www.toba.org), based in Lexington, Kentucky, was formed in 1961 and is a national trade organization of Thoroughbred owners and breeders. TOBA’s mission is to “improve the economics, integrity and pleasure of the sport on behalf of Thoroughbred owners and breeders.” Projects managed by TOBA include the American Graded Stakes Committee, The Racing Game, Sales Integrity Program and Claiming Crown. TOBA is the owner of The Blood-Horse Inc., and is represented on the Board of Directors of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association as a founding member.
The National HBPA (www.nationalhbpa.com) is the largest racing horsemen’s representative association in North America, with 30 affiliate member organizations representing over 30,000 owners and trainers of thoroughbred racehorses. The NHBPA’s mission is to improve and preserve Thoroughbred horseracing. The National HBPA is proud partners with its corporate sponsors, equineline.com, Big Dee’s Tack & Vet Supplies, Finish Line Horse Products, Horseman Labor Solutions and Omega Alpha Pharmaceuticals, Inc.