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Claiming Crown Kicks Off Gulfstream Meet

Last year’s success beginning the Gulfstream Park meet a month early translated into the earliest start ever at the South Florida track. The 2012-2013 Winter meet kicks off on December 1 with a race card highlighted by the Claiming Crown, a series of races designed to feature the best of the blue collar runners. 
 
 
This is the first time Gulfstream has hosted the Claiming Crown, and lest you think the races are full of horses you have never heard of, look at the entries again. Homeboykris, winner of the 2009 G1 Champagne Stakes, is cross-entered in the Claiming Crown Rapid Transit Stakes and the Claiming Crown Jewel Stakes. Also entered in the Jewel Stakes is Dan and Sheila, the fourth place finisher in both the G3 LeComte Stakes and the G2 Jerome Stakes this year, and stakes placed Flatter This. Grade 3 winner Tamarind Hall highlights the Claiming Crown Glass Slipper Stakes, and graded stakes winners Juanita and Silver Screamer face off in the Claiming Crown Tiara Stakes.
 
 
Perhaps the most intriguing match-up, however, is that of King David versus King Kreesa, the 1-2 finishers in this year’s G1 Jamaica Handicap, in the Claiming Crown Emerald Stakes. Also a part of the Claiming Crown series are the Claiming Crown Express Stakes and the Claiming Crown Iron Horse Stakes. All seven Claiming Crown races attracted large fields offering bettors plenty of value.
 
 
After the Claiming Crown, the action will be rather slow around the picturesque track. Only two graded stakes are scheduled for the month of December, but come January, things pick up considerably. The New Year’s Day card includes the second running of the Gulfstream Park Derby for 3-year olds going a mile and sixteenth and is highlighted by the G3 Old Hat Stakes in which Kauai Katie will likely make her 3-year old debut. The biggest day of the meet will easily be March 30 which will have a race card comprising of seven stakes races, the feature being the G1 Florida Derby, worth one hundred points to the winner in the new qualification system.
 
 
Another first for Gulfstream Park this meet will be hosting the Eclipse Awards program. The awards ceremony will take place the evening of the Sunshine Millions race card on January 19.
 
 
After the meet, Gulfstream Park operators will begin an expansion of the facility in the hopes of luring the Breeders’ Cup back to South Florida. Gulfstream had previously hosted the championship races three times, but the scaled-down seating that is currently part of the track’s layout took the track out of consideration for the Breeders’ Cup races. Expansions include two hotels facing the track, an enlarged grandstand seating, and a casino and concert hall. Public money will not be used to fund the renovations.
 
 
The Gulfstream Meet is always a key factor in the Road to the Kentucky Derby, and this year will be no different. With many key Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks probables in place at Gulfstream and Palm Meadows, fans are sure to see many exciting match-ups between some of the nation’s top 3-year olds. 

 

What the Nation is saying about Claiming Crown Kicks Off Gulfstream Meet...

And there is a 10¢ Pick 7 with a mandatory payout on the Claiming Crown races 4-10.
Sorry, but ... you have the best job of all!
That's when I wanted to go down this year, but I don't think it's going to be in the cards. I'm pretty sure that my Finance Committee will cut that from the budget. ;-)
I'll be down for the Sunshine Millions/Eclipse Awards weekend.
When are you planning on going down to GP?
Looking forward to my first visit to Gulfstream Park in several years!
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Meet Ashley Tamulonis
 

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids’ book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, and it was her love of reading and horses that led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few short years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and get to personally meet and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.

 

Before joining Horse Racing Nation, Ashley created her own blog Wired with Ashley Paige. The idea to venture into the world of blogging came to her when she realized that she had much to say about horse racing and no one to say it to at the time. Since joining Horse Racing Nation as a contributing blogger, Ashley writes as frequently as possible as the Florida Filly. Though she mainly covers racing in South Florida, Ashley also blogs about nationwide racing, industry issues, and from time to time offers her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry as a whole. Most recently, Ashley was selected to participate in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.

 

An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley lives in Central Georgia with her husband Chris and their two sons Charlie and Michael. When she is not covering the races, Ashley works with insurance claims, a job she is able to do from home in order to spend as much time as possible with her family. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is passionate about football, reading, and history and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racing’s stars, equine and human alike.