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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

An Open Invitation to All Horse Racing Fans

by Joe Santanna, National HBPA President & Chairman

Join me, the National HBPA (our semi-annual convention will be held during the Claiming Crown), and over 10,000 other live horse racing enthusiasts at Canterbury Downs in Minnesota on July 24, 2010 for the 12th running of the Claiming Crown races. Yes, over 10,000 racing fans in Shakopee, Minnesota annually visit the racetrack to enjoy six races with purses totaling $500,000 for claimers who ran for anywhere from less than $7,500 to less than $35,000, as well as the other quality races on the day’s card.

More importantly, nominate a horse who meets the eligibility and participate in the grand day. We often talk about new initiatives to encourage a younger fan base to our sport, and I can tell you emphatically that the Claiming Crown is our sport’s best kept secret.

If you want to see a racetrack populated with the majority of fans that look like the children of most other racetracks’ fan bases, then Canterbury Downs is the place to be. Randy Sampson’s team at Canterbury is to be commended for showing the rest of North American horse racing how to introduce live horse racing to the younger crowd of a metropolitan area where the racetrack is situated – namely, the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Couple that with the willingness of the Minnesota HBPA, its President Tom Metzen, and its Board of Directors who believed enough in the Claiming Crown concept to host it 10 of the 12 times it has run, and you have a marvelous day of racing at its finest for the core of every racetrack’s daily program – the claimers who represent approximately 66 2/3% of all starts.

Canterbury Park, the Minnesota HBPA, the National HBPA, and TOBA have quietly created this wonderful day of racing for the owners and horses that provide the majority of starts on an annual basis throughout North America. Last year’s event became the springboard for Furthest Land, the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, to participate in that $1 million race. I can’t wait to see what surprise this year’s event will produce.

I implore all owners and trainers to search their barns for horses that are eligible, nominate them, and break the record for nominations. For eligibility information and nomination forms, visit www.claimingcrown.com.

I urge all fans who wager on our product to mark their calendar for this day and play it. Let’s set the record for handle.

I request that all racetracks and OTB’s broadcast the races in the most conspicuous area of your simulcast facility. I encourage the two horse racing TV channels to promote the day for the good of the industry and what it represents to the industry.

Finally, come to Minnesota and see the Claiming Crown races. It deserves a place in your racing calendar right beside the Triple Crown races and the Breeders Cup. You won’t be disappointed!

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