Ramsey, Maker team up with turf horses on Claiming Crown program

Ramsey, Maker team up with turf horses on Claiming Crown program
Photo: Arron Haggart/Eclipse Sportswire

Already the winningest owner and trainer in event history, Ken Ramsey and Mike Maker will team up once again Saturday at Gulfstream Park with four horses in two of four turf stakes on the $1.11 million Claiming Crown Day program.
The 18th edition of the Claiming Crown, created in 1999 to honor the blue-collar horses that are the foundation of the racing industry nationwide, is the fifth straight at Gulfstream and serves as a fitting kick off to the 2016-17 Championship Meet.
Ramsey and Maker have won at least one race in seven of the past nine Claiming Crowns, blanked in 2011 and last year. They have 14 victories apiece, including winning four of seven races in 2012. The program was expanded to nine races in 2015.
“For me, it’s not about the money. It’s about the pride. It’s an ego thing,” Ramsey said. “It’s an ongoing process. If I see one running someplace that’s eligible I look at them, and I even drop some of my own down to make them eligible and hope they don’t get claimed.” 
Ramsey and Maker have Keystoneforvictory entered in the $125,000 Emerald for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles and both Creaky Cricket and Partly Mocha in the $110,000 Canterbury for 3-year-olds and up at five furlongs.
Saturday’s other turf stakes are the $125,000 Tiara at 1 1/16 miles and the $110,000 Distaff Dash at five furlongs, both for fillies and mares 3 and up. Post time for the first of 11 races is noon EST.
Keystoneforvictory has three wins from five career starts at Gulfstream including the Forty Niner Stakes June 18. A sophomore son of Shakespeare, he was third in the Showing Up Nov. 5 at Gulfstream Park West, his first start since finishing fifth in the Kent (G3) July 16.
Creaky Cricket was claimed for $25,000 out of his last start Nov. 5 at Aqueduct, where he was outrun early but came on late to finish fifth, beaten 3 ¾ lengths. He cuts back from 8 ½ to five furlongs for the Canterbury, which marks the second start for Turf Monster (G3) winner Doctor J Dub off a brief freshening.
Partly Mocha has not raced since finishing second in the Confucius Say Stakes against fellow West Virginia-breds April 23 at Charles Town. The 7-year-old gelding has raced three times at Gulfstream with two wins and a third.
In all, Ramsey has seven horses entered on the Claiming Crown program, all with Maker, six of them in stakes.
“Don’t bet against us winning at least one of those races,” said Ramsey, who teamed with Maker to win the Emerald five times, in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2013 and 2014.
Stakes Winner Aire Bueno Looks to Shine in $125,000 Emerald
Chilean-bred Aire Bueno, who has finished first or second seven times and no worse than third over his last nine starts, goes for career win No. 14 in the Emerald. Co-owned and trained by Chuck Simon, the 7-year-old gelding returns to Gulfstream where he has hit the board nine times in 14 tries, including four wins.
Aire Bueno has finished second the last two times out, most recently coming up short by less than a length after chasing a slow pace in the Emerald Preview Nov. 6 at Gulfstream Park West. He won two straight this spring and summer at Gulfstream, topped by the Miesque’s Approval Stakes July 2.
“He was a disappointment for a while. For whatever reason, he’s adapted well now and he gives a big effort every time. Even when he loses, a lot of times it’s not necessarily his fault. He gets behind a slow pace or he gets in traffic trouble or something like that,” Simon said.
“Last race he got behind a horse on the lead who got away with a really slow pace, and two races before that was kind of similar. He was chasing a loose leader. He’s done pretty well overall.”
Music Critik enters the Emerald off back-to-back wins nine days apart, both since being moved back to the turf. He earned an all-expenses-paid trip from Maryland following his half-length victory Nov. 6 at Laurel Park, one of three wins on the day for trainer Lacey Gaudet.
“He’s a 6-year-old who had been on the grass one time before and I said, ‘He’s bred for the grass. Let’s try him on it.’ He ran a huge race. I love the way he ran that day,” Gaudet said. “He ran big [the race before]. It was nine days later that the Claiming Crown race came up. He came out of his race so well, I said, ‘Let’s run him back.’ I was so pleased the way he won.”
Laythatpistoldown, Flashy Chelsey, Sea Cookie, Indian Guide, Dream Man, Riviere Du Loup, Andalusite, Market Outlook, Class and Cash, Steelman Run and Cammack are among the field of 16 that includes also-eligibles To Your Health and Bingo Bango Bongo.
Stakes-Placed Northern Smile Heads South for $125,000 Tiara
Narrowly beaten last time out in the Maryland Million Ladies, The Elkstone Group’s Northern Smile will make her Gulfstream Park debut in the $125,000 Tiara. She is seeking her first stakes victory, having also finished third by a length in the All Brandy June 25 at Pimlico.
“Honestly, I thought she ran great last time. She had a little bit of trouble and couldn’t quite get there,” Rubley said. “I was disappointed she didn’t win because I thought she looked great on paper, and she ran her race. It just didn’t work out that we got there in time. She’s a really big, late closer so it has to set up perfectly for her with the speed in front.”
Fellow Maryland-based filly Marabea earned her way to Gulfstream winning the Tiara Preview Nov. 6 at Laurel. It was her first start since being taken by Gaudet for $25,000 when second as the favorite in a Sept. 2 claiming race at Saratoga.
“She ran a great race that day. She was training great going into the race. She had a little bit of a rough trip. She’s a little of a difficult filly to be around, but it ended up working out,” Gaudet said. “We liked her when we got her in the barn, so it was kind of hard to find an allowance spot for her. We entered her at Parx, and it rained off the grass. We said, ‘We’ll try her in the Claiming Crown prep and, if she gets the job done there, we’ll go south.’”
Luckystrikedelcoco, Kasuga, Hanover Honey, Royal Jewely, Summers Back, Lobelia, Temple Fur, Defying Grafity, Be Playful, Daddy’s Boo, Seeking Treasure, Stormin Charlotte and also-eligibles Puparee and Marmalade complete the field.
G3 Winner Doctor J Dub Returns in $110,000 Canterbury
Drawing Away Stable’s Doctor J Dub is set to make his second start since a 23-1 upset of the Turf Monster (G3) Sept. 25 at Parx in the Canterbury. Given a break by trainer Jena Antonucci, he returned to run third behind Canterbury rivals Super Spender on Claiming Crown Preview Day Nov. 6 at Gulfstream Park West.
“We’re thrilled. He’s doing super. We gave him a little breather after a hard campaign from the beginning of the year to let him catch his breath more than anything physically, and he came back well from that,” Antonucci said. “We knew we were a little bit light on works going into the starter at GPW but we wanted to get a race under his belt. We’ve breezed him a couple times since and he’s ready to go.”
Goodwood Racing V’s Super Spender has won two of his last three starts for trainer Jane Cibelli, taking the Canterbury preview by three lengths. Three of his six career wins have come in five starts at Gulfstream.
“I think he just needs that speed in front of him, that 21 and 44 type of speed, to close into. He did win going long and I thought for a while that that’s what he wanted to do,” Cibelli said. “I think he won one time going a mile and he never did win again [going long]. We don’t play around with him anymore. Five-eighths is what he wants and that’s the end of it.”
Newport Stables’ American Sailor, trained by Joe Sharp, earned an all-fees-paid berth in the Canterbury by winning the Nov. 6 prep at Laurel Park. It was the second straight win for the 4-year-old City Zip ridgling, who won the Bucharest Turf Sprint Stakes in February at Sam Houston.
Also entered are Swagger, All About Yansom, Fast Flying Rumor, Canarsie, Rivzinthehouse, Stevis Man and Divine Warrior, while Icatiro is entered for main track only.      
Spectacular Me Goes for Two Straight in $110,000 Distaff Dash
Winning Move Stable’s Spectacular Me looks to kick off the stakes portion of Saturday’s Claiming Crown card with a win in the $110,000 Distaff Dash. The 6-year-old Catienus mare is another horse that earned a free trip to South Florida winning her prep Nov. 6 at Laurel, cruising by 2 ¼ lengths.
It was the first race for Spectacular Me, a career winner of 14 races and $410,734 in purses, since running second in a seven-furlong optional claiming allowance Sept. 15 at Belmont Park.
“She sports a good record, all for good reasons. She’s tactically quick enough to place herself, she settles, she’ll do whatever the rider pleases. She’s just a professional racehorse, the kind everybody would like to have 20 of in their barn,” trainer Steve Klesaris said. “She’s a real professional performer and has been. She’s a tremendous horse and she’s been a lot of fun for all of us, and we’re excited to be down there and be a part of it.”
The field of 11 includes a pair from trainer Jorge Navarro, Forest Funds and Scuba Sue. Forest Funds was fourth in last year’s Distaff Dash, rained off the turf to a good main track, and won the Jill Jellison Memorial Dash July 9 at Suffolk Downs. Scuba Sue has a win and two seconds since being claimed by Navarro for $16,000 July 17 at Monmouth Park.

Eila, Lady Coventry, Key d’Oro, Sum Roar, My Sister Caro, Summer Rae, Star Mily and Belladini round out the field.

Source: Gulfstream Park

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