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Claiming Crown runner surprises in Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile


November 8, 2009     E-mail this page to a friend!

Furthest Land (#2, second from right) in the field of ten off to a perfect start in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile
(photo by Robert Cooke, Jr., courtesy of NTRA and The Breeders' Cup)
By Karen Svea Johnson

Dismissed at odds of 21.3-to-1, Furthest Land, whose 2009 races include a fourth-place finish in the Claiming Crown Jewel at Canterbury Park, rallied to a win under Julien Leparoux in the $1,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile on Saturday.

Another longshot, Ready’s Echo, under Calvin Borel, took second at odds of 24.4-to-1. Midshipman finished third under Garrett Gomez, and the favored Mastercraftsmen, under John Murtagh, could only manage fourth.

The victory shines a spotlight on the Claiming Crown series, hosted most recently and most frequently by Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minnesota.

NTRA’s Eric Wing noted in a post-race interview, “I’m sure the folks in Minnesota are happy—first Claiming Crown [runner] to go on and win a Breeders’ Cup race.”

Like all horses that compete in the Claiming Crown races, Furthest Land has run for a tag. A knowledgeable, watchful Ken Ramsey took advantage of that, and thus became the owner of the winning horse.

At the post-race interview, Wing addressed that issue. “Everybody knows you claim a lot of horses. This one you got for … what looks like an extreme bargain—$35,000—just a little over a year ago. What was it about Furthest Land that caught your eye last October?”

Ramsey explained, “The breeding was impeccable. The horse was three years old—he was young.

“I used my claiming method primarily from the Rag (Ragozin) sheets. He had improving Rag sheets numbers. Mike [Maker, the trainer] checked him out. Said he was clean—clean legs and all that, so we decided to go for it. And now you know the rest of the story.”

TRJ—The Racing Journal readers know that a great horse can come from anywhere. Now the rest of the world does, too.