This week’s LET IT RIDE.COM HOT TOPIC comes from Bill Finley of ESPN.com…take a read and VOICE AN OPINION!
Pull the plug on the Claiming Crown
The idea of bringing together a bunch of claiming horses and having them meet on the same card always had obvious shortcomings. Claimers may be the so-called backbone of the business, but they don’t generate anything in the way of interest from fans or bettors. Claimers are claimers because they simply aren’t very good horses and that’s why the Claiming Crown was never anything more than a celebration of mediocrity.
Proponents of the Claiming Crown argued that it was a way to reward these blue-collar horses and their trainers and owners by allowing them to have at least one day when they could compete for decent purses. But now even that argument has become a specious one. With claimers routinely running for inflated purses at slots tracks, the pots offered in the Claiming Crown no longer seem like that big of a deal.
That’s why Rapid Redux, the most famous claimer of the last 50 years and a winner of 20 straight races, won’t be competing in the Claiming Crown Saturday at the Fair Grounds. He was eligible to run in the $50,000 Iron Horse, but to do so he had to get from his base in Pennsylvania to New Orleans and that was going to cost owner Robert Cole $13,000. Once there, he would have had to run against far better horses than he usually faces.
It wasn’t worth it, not when Rapid Redux can get on a van and ship to a half dozen racetracks and race against inferior horses for good money. When you can be 1-10 in a $20,000 race close to home it makes no sense to venture so far outside your comfort zone.
Rapid Redux will stay home Saturday, as will dozens of other horses who are eligible for Claiming Crown races. Only 39 horses have been entered for this year’s Claiming Crown events. There will be just five Claiming Crown races because a sixth, the $75,000 Rapid Transit, had to be cancelled when it did not get enough entries. Not surprisingly, Louisiana-based horses dominate the Claiming Crown entries.
The five Claiming Crown races are among the worst betting races on the Fair Grounds card, they will come and go without anyone paying much attention to them and they won’t do anything to generate handle.
Fans and horseplayers rejected the Claiming Crown a long time ago. Now, it appears that owners and trainers have, too. Never a great idea to begin with, the Claiming Crown has lost any and all appeal, and it’s time for it to go.
WHAT’S YOUR TAKE?