Keystone Field’s Jewel Win Gives Maker 22nd Claiming Crown Victory – Horse Racing News

Keystone Field and Gerardo Corrales take the Claiming Crown Jewel for Three Diamonds Farm and trainer Mike Maker

Keystone Field, owned by Kirk Wycoff’s Three Diamonds Farm, swept past early leaders Benevengo and Frosted Grace leaving the final turn and determinedly turned back a late charge by 2-1 favorite Intrepid Heart to win Saturday’s $199,875 Claiming Crown Jewel at Churchill Downs – the most lucrative of eight starter allowance races for the nation’s top claiming-level horses – by a half-length.

The Jewel, a 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds and up that raced for a claiming price of $35,000 or less in 2021-22, headlined Saturday’s 24th annual Claiming Crown Championship Series, which was staged at Churchill Downs for the first time. Inaugurated in 1999 at Canterbury Park in Minnesota, the Claiming Crown had been staged for the last decade at Gulfstream Park in south Florida. In its Louisville debut, the Claiming Crown lured blue-collar horses from around the country.

Keystone Field stopped the teletimer in 1:53.29 over the main dirt track that was rated “sloppy” following more than an inch of early morning precipitation in the Louisville area, which included snow flurries as temperatures dipped into the mid-30s.

“We knew when it came up sloppy that a son of Candy Ride should handle the surface great,” Wycoff said.

Gerardo Corrales rode the winner for trainer Mike Maker, who collected his second Claiming Crown win on the day and record-extending 22nd victory in the championship series. Earlier, Maker won the $109,850 Glass Slipper with Paradise Farms Corp.’s Invaluable ($8.18), who was ridden by Luis Saez.

“We knew this horse had good turf form but we thought we could improve him getting him on the dirt,” Maker said. “He had a great trip today and handled the sloppy track very well.”

Keystone Field earned $113,000 for the win and improved his record to 21-6-2-3—$391,529. He paid $15.78, $6.76 and $5.28 at odds of 6-1.

“When I bet he was 10-1 and got backed pretty heavily after that,” Wycoff said. “I left the (Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale) a few hours ago and it’s a great sale but winning races is better. … (Intrepid Heart) ran well on his outside but we ended up getting the jump on him from the inside.”

Intrepid Heart, ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, returned $3.68 and $2.90. Benevengo, with Saez up, was another 7 ¼ lengths back in third and paid $4.20.

Tiz Rye Time, Digital, Decision Maker, Frosted Grace, defending champion Twelve Volt Man and Calibrator completed the order of finish. Ournationonparade was scratched.

Keystone Field became eligible for the Jewel while winning a Jan. 7 race at Santa Anita while running for a $25,000 claiming tag. Previously owned by Perry R. Bass II and Ramona S. Bass and trained by Richard Mandella, he was privately purchased following a fourth-place finish in a $25,000 starter allowance on March 19 and came to Kentucky. This marked his third victory in five dirt starts since the purchase.

“I was delighted to see the Claiming Crown come to Churchill,” Wycoff said. “We actually purchased this horse from California to run it back on the dirt. That usually isn’t what we do, it’s usually the other way around (dirt to turf).”

Keystone Field is a 7-year-old gelded son of Candy Ride (ARG) out of the In Excess (IRE) mare She’s an Eleven and was bred in Kentucky by C R K Stables LLC.

Also on the Claiming Crown card, trainer Tom Van Berg and jockey Florent Geroux teamed to win their second Claiming Crown race of the day when The Queens Jules ($19.14) determinedly surged back from the inside rail to hang a nose on Divine Leader in the $138,755 Rapid Transit. Earlier, Petit Verdot ($6.42) won the $160,600 Tom Metzen Memorial. Both horses were owned by Van Berg’s partnership Grit to Glory Racing. Van Berg also saddled the winner of the first race, an $8,000 claiming event, with Justin’s Quest ($4.66) for three wins on the day.

Paco Lopez rode two winners to extend his Claiming Crown win record to 16. He won the $167,150 Tiara aboard Out of Sorts ($14.08) for owner John Fanelli and trainer Bobby Mosco, and concluded the program with a triumph aboard FAS Racing (Adis Smajlovic)’s Palace Coup ($4.14) in the $160,010 Emerald for trainer Joe Sharp, who also trains Intrepid Heart.

Out of Sorts was one of two horses who shipped in from Pennsylvania’s Parx to win a Claiming Crown event. The other was Gregg O’Donnell’s Hero Tiger ($10.32) in the $106,899 Ready’s Rocket Express for trainer John Kirby and the second Claiming Crown win of the day for Saez.

All other Claiming Crown winners were based in Kentucky, including Jeff A. Hiles and Thorndale Stable LLC’s Time for Trouble ($18.08), who won the $108,433 Iron Horse Kent Stirling Memorial for Hiles and jockey Joe Talamo.

The Canterbury Tom Metzen Memorial, Tiara and Emerald were transferred from turf to dirt because of snowfall.

Racing at Churchill Downs continues Sunday with a 10-race card that features a trio of $300,000 stakes: the Grade 3 River City for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles on turf; $300,000 Bet On Sunshine (Listed) for sprinters at six furlongs; and $300,000 Dream Supreme (Listed) for filly and mare sprinters at six furlongs. There also is a $36,023 carryover in the 20-cent Derby City 6 and a $6,987 carryover in the $1 Super Hi 5. First post is 1 p.m.

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