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Horses to watch on 2018 Claiming Crown Day at Gulfstream

By Vance Hanson

The 20th Claiming Crown highlights Saturday’s opening of the 2018-19 Gulfstream Park Championship Meet. The fields are huge and the betting opportunities plentiful.

Don’t forget to opt in to TwinSpires.com’s $10,000 Place Payout. Bet $5 to Place on a single horse or entry in each race to split $1,000. Cash a Place bet in at least five races races to split $1,000, in at least seven races to split an additional $1,000, and in every race to split an additional $7,000. It is not required to play every race to earn a share of the winners bonuses, except for the share of the guaranteed participation pool of $1,000.

Here are some horses of interest on the card.

Race 1

#3 SOPHIE ANTOINETTE (5-1) has room for improvement second out after some valid excuses first out at Keeneland (e.g. wide draw, soft ground, slow pace), where she missed by less than four lengths.

Race 7 — Claiming Crown Tiara

A rematch here between last year’s second- and third-place finishers #1 PERU (5-2) and #12 STARSHIP JUBILEE. The latter has had more success in the last 12 months having become a Grade 2 winner, but Peru likely to offer more value despite losing this race by only a nose.

Race 10 — Claiming Crown Emerald

#5 DRIVEN BY THUNDER (5-1) has been re-claimed twice by Todd Pletcher, and he certainly knows how to get the best out of this gelding. Owns a four-for-five mark over the Gulfstream turf, and should be in prime striking position throughout.

Race 11 — Claiming Crown Jewel

#6 AZTEC SENSE and reigning titlest #7 FLOWERS FOR LISA are the horses to beat, but #5 RACE ME HOME (9-2) is an interesting contender with plenty of upside having won first off the claim by Mike Maker last month at Gulfstream Park West. Showed promise early in his career placing in the 2016 Easy Goer on the Belmont Stakes undercard and might now be hitting his best stride.

(Lauren King/Coglianese Photo)

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