Claiming Crown Races at Gulfstream Park Dec. 1.

The 2018-19 “Championship Meet” will get underway at Gulfstream Park Dec. 1. The opening-day program will feature the 20th edition of the Claiming Crown. Nine races in the Claiming Crown (which offers $1.1 million in purses), an annual tribute to the blue-collar horses that provide the day-to-day foundation of the racing industry.

Race 1:

Solar Kitten is expected to show more after taking the overland route when finishing 5th in her maiden special weight debut on a ‘yielding’ Keeneland turf.

And She’s Gone, is stretching out around 2-turns after losing her best chance when she bumped and was pinched back at the start of her 6-furlong career debut.

Here Comes Jackie is turning back to 7 ½ furlongs after setting the pace and weakening late when facing special weight competition in a pair going a mile and a sixteenth at Belmont.

Our Top Three Picks

  • Solar Kitten
  • And She’s Gone
  • Here Comes Jackie

 

Race 2: THE RAPID TRANSIT

Cautious Giant, the defending champ, is stretching out to 7 furlongs in the first start since rallying to win the 6-furlong $75,000 Trinniberg here during September.

Uno Mas Modelo is stretching out an additional furlong after posting a triple digit speed figure (102) when drawing clear on a sealed ‘sloppy’ track to win the Bet on Sunshine at Churchill.

Sal the Turtle is debuting locally after stalking early, and drawing clear late, to win back-to-back 6-furlong sprints in New York.

Our Top Three Picks

  • Sal the Turtle
  • Cautious Giant
  • Uno Mas Modelo

Race 3.

Skychief will be wearing with blinkers after setting the pace and getting beat a neck when going a mile on a mile on a ‘good’ Churchill turf.

Bourbon In May is stretching out around 2-turns after rallying 5 wide to finish 2nd in his 5 1/2 furlong career debut on a ‘soft’ Keenland turf.

Lucky Mike will race with blinkers after rallying to finish second against winners in the $75,000 Juvenile Turf at Gulfstream West.

Our Top Three Picks

  • Lucky Mike
  • Skychief
  • Bourbon In May

 

Race 4: THE EXPRESS

Appealing Future is debuting locally after stalking early, and rallying late, to win back-to-back 6-furlong allowance sprints at Parx.

Brother Chub another 7-time winner at the distance, make his local debut the first start since rallying to finish 2nd behind Appealing Future at Parx last out.

Harryhee merits respected on the ‘horse-for- the – course’ angle when he stretches out to 6 furlongs trying to post his 7th career victory locally (26-6-9-5). The hard knocking 6-year-old always runs his race

Our Top Three Picks

  • Harryhee
  • Appealing Future
  • Brother Chub

 

Race 5: DISTAFF DASH

Blue Bahia, the defending champ, is making her first start since following her victory here during March in the $75,000 Captiva Island with a 2nd place finish in the Turf Amazon at Parx during July.

Oxford Comma is hoping to make her mark locally after posting her 2nd consecutive sprint victory on the turf at Indiana Grand. The sophomore, 5 for 6 in the win column this year, will have Miguel Vazquez in the saddle.

Lover’s Key will depart from the rail after breaking from Post 10 and leading every step of the way when defeating $62,500 optional claimers going a mile on the Gulfstream West turf. She should be able to ride the rail behind the speed at this distance.

Our Top Three Picks

  • Lover’s Key
  • Blue Bahia
  • Oxford Comma

 

Race 6: THE IRON HORSE

Guns of Steel moved to the Jorge Navarro barn via the claim after rallying to finish 2nd behind repeat winner Johnny Jump Up in a $25,000 optional claimer at Penn National.

Moon Gate Warrior, an 8-time winner this year (15-8-2-1), is debuting locally fresh off his impressive $12,500 starter allowance score at Parx.

To Dara is stretching out to a mile and a sixteenth after using his tactical speed to win back-to-back optional claiming victories in a one turn mile race.

Our Top Three Picks

  • Guns of Steel
  • To Dara
  • Moon Gate Warrior

 

Race 7: THE TIARA

Starship Jubilee won the Grade 2 Canadian at Woodbine in September, is turning back to a mile and a sixteenth after setting the pace and weakening late to finish fourth in the Grade 1 EP Taylor in her last outing. The obvious class will be leaving from the outside post.

Valedictorian is making her local return the first start since posting back-to-back turf victories, including the score in the $150,000 All Along at Laurel in her last race.

Peru beaten a nose in this race last year. She returns after her 2-race win streak ended when she weakened late and finished 2nd in a 12-furlong allowance at Keeneland.

Our Top Three Picks

  • Peru
  • Starship Jubilee
  • Valedictorian

 

Race 8: THE GLASS SLIPPER

Viva Forever is debuting locally after posting impressive back-to-back $12,500 starter allowance victories going a mile at Parx.

Starship Reina is 9-for-9 in the money on this track. She makes her return after her 2-race win streak ended when she set the pace and faded in the $50,000 Pink Ribbon at Charles Town.

Grace’s Drama is making her first start since winning three consecutive victories here, including back-to-back scores at this one-turn mile distance.

Our Top Three Picks

  • Starship Reina
  • Viva Forever
  • Grace’s Drama

Race 9: THE CANTERBURY

Dowse’s Beach is turning back to 5 furlongs (7-4-0- 0) after posting his 3rd consecutive turf victory when he defeated $80,000 optional claimers going 6 furlongs on a ‘yielding’ Aqueduct turf.

Dance Proudly has ten wins at the distance debuts locally after drawing clear late to defeat a pair of next-out winners in a $25,000 optional claimer at Indiana Grand.

Tenacity Zip will break from the outside looking to sit next to the pace on his inside. He should close on these.

Our Top Three Picks

    • Dowse’s Beach
    • Tenacity Zip
    • Dance Proudly

 

 

 

Race 10: THE EMERALD

Aquaphobia is looking a return to previous races performance against this level of competition after following a solid turf campaign against allowance competition with a stalk-and fade outing in the Grade II Knickerbocker at Belmont.

Montclair is making his local return after rebounding from the disqualification here last February in the Little Magician with 3 consecutive turf victories during his productive summer campaign in New Jersey. He should be in the winner.

Driven By Thunder returns to his favorite course (5-4-0- 0) after the chase-and-fade outing at Belmont.

Our Top Three Picks

    • Driven By Thunder
    • Aquaphobia
    • Montclair

 

 

 

Race 11: THE $200,000 JEWEL

Flowers For Lisa is the defending champ in the Jewel, is making his first start since setting the pace and faltering in the Grade 3 Lukas Classic at Churchill.

Aztec Sense is a perfect 7 for 7 this year, which includes a victory at the distance in the President’s Cup Stakes at Parx, stretches out after drawing clear to win the mile and a sixteenth $150,000 Pa Derby Champion Stakes.

Race Me Home is stretching out to 9 furlongs (3-2-0-0) after responding in the first start after the claim by Mike Maker with a popular $35,000 starter allowance victory at Gulfstream West.

Our Top Three Picks

  • Flowers For Lisa
  • Race Me Home
  • Aztec Sense

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