Monday, December 5, 2011
Report from the 2011 Claiming Crown by National HBPA President and Chairman Joe Santanna
Much will be written about the results, so the purpose of my writing is to report my observation of why the Claiming Crown was created and why there is no doubt in my mind that it should be continued.
I had the pleasure of sitting at a table beside the three co-owners of one of the entrants in one of Claiming Crown races. Once I knew they were owners of a Claiming Crown horse, I introduced myself and began to watch how, as the day wore on and got closer to their race, the crescendo of excitement and anticipation engulfed them.
There were three grown men - close friends for who knows how long - enjoying a moment that only those who have experienced it before can truly appreciate. They remarked at how unbelievable it was to be participating in the Claiming Crown and how terrific it was to be spending the day at the Fair Grounds. What some in our sport take as commonplace, these three gentlemen cherished as a special moment to remember forever.
The big race soon approached for the three men, so I had to continue my observation of them in the paddock. I am glad that the paddock was big enough to accommodate their smiles and their obvious pride in participating in an event that included a "championship" race for their obvious "big horse."
Well as I hope you were expecting, their horse made a big run turning for home and won the race for the three men!
When they returned to their table, the men set their trophy on the table with the delicacy reserved for a newborn child, almost relieved that it was now in a safe place. Each one quietly took a cell phone picture of it, surely to not only capture the moment but to begin to electronically share it with those most close to them.
While standing there without their feet on the ground, the three men looked at each other, communicating the non-verbal message, "Did that just really happen to us?"
The glow of being victorious in the biggest race of that horse's career made the 2010 claim of that horse by these three men look like claiming horses is a simple task.
So I close with my best wishes that all claims are as successful as theirs and look forward to planning the 2012 event. Congratulations to all of the 2011 Claiming Crown winners, trainers, owners, and all who had a hand in that day. The Fair Grounds and the Louisiana HBPA are to be commended and congratulated for keeping the spirit and the purpose of the Claiming Crown alive and well.
Posted by National HBPA at 6:00 AM