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Dunkelberger stakes his claim in Minn.

August 05, 2000

Dunkelberger stakes his claim in Minn.



At the Races / By Larry Yanos


Charles Town-based jockey Travis Dunkelberger - the second-leading rider in the country in races won in 2000 - has three mounts today in the second annual Claiming Crown Championship at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minn.

The Claiming Crown, a series of seven races with purses totaling $560,000, puts the spotlight on America's fastest claiming horses - the horses who contest the majority of races at any given racetrack.

Dunkelberger has ridden 1,030 horses in 2000 through Thursday and has 214 wins, 169 places and 135 shows. He has won 21 percent of his races, has finished in the money 50 percent of the time and his mounts have earned $3,221,648.California-based jockey Russell Baze is the national leader with 229 victories.

Today at Canterbury Downs, Dunkelberger will ride Star De Mint for trainer Keith Sirota in the $60,000 Glass Slipper Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs; Pine Baroness for trainer Mike Pino in the $100,000 1 1/16-mile Tiara Stakes on the turf; and Miner's Trick for trainer Dale Capuano in the $125,000 Jewel Stakes at 1 1/8-mile on the turf.

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The Glass Slipper Stakes is for fillies and mares, three-year-olds-and-upwards, which have started for a claiming price of $12,500 or less twice since July 31, 1999; the Tiara Stakes is for fillies and mares, three-year-olds-and-upwards which have started for a claiming price of $20,000 or twice since July 31, 1999; and the Jewel Stakes for three-year-olds-and-upward horses which have started for a claiming price of $25,000 or less twice since July 31, 1999.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Owner Richard Englander, who runs numerous horses at the Charles Town Races, owns Pine Baroness. He has also entered A Lot of Mary in the $60,000 Glass Slipper Stakes.

A Lot of Mary, a five-year-old filly trained by Scott Lake, will be ridden by jockey Jose Flores.

A Lot of Mary has been to the starting gate 25 times in her career - the first 23 at Charles Town - and shows eight wins, seven seconds and three thirds for career earnings of $74,686.

Trainers Charles Frock and Mark McCracken were her conditioners early at Charles Town, but Ronnie Brown had her from July 9, 1999 to April 6, 2000, when she was turned over to Scott Lake.

In 12 appearances in the Brown barn, she showed six wins and two seconds.

"I had trouble getting her races at Charles Town," Brown said. "The races she was eligible for just didn't fill. She sure didn't race at Charles Town as much as I would have liked."

A Lot of Mary ran 23 consecutive races at Charles Town before journeying to Pimlico on April 6 where she finished fourth in a $18,500 claiming race at 6 furlongs. She then went to Philadelphia Park on July 1 and won a $10,000 claimer at 7 furlongs.

"She's a nice horse, but she needs to make the lead to be successful," Brown said. "I know she will be up against some tough horses in Minnesota, but she could be alright with a decent post position and a decent break."

Among A Lot of Mary's victories at Charles Town was a a 7-furlong allowance event on March 3 when she defeated Shes a Caper Too by 1 1/2 lengths. That West Virginia-bred went on to win the $25,000, 7-furlong Shenandoah Valley Handicap - a Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championships event held at Charles Town.

Today's Claiming Crown, co-sponsored by the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, had nominations from 31 different states.

It will not be simulcast at Charles Town or the Maryland racetracks and simulcast venues.

Put your money down

Looking for some Horseplay at Charles Town? Then wager a few bucks on Horseplay.

The 7-year-old thoroughbred has won six consecutive races at the West Virginia oval and trainer John Dillow says it's likely that Horseplay will shoot for No.8 next Sunday.

Dillow claimed Horseplay for $5,000 at Charles Town on July 13, bumped him up to a $7,500 claimer on July 29 and will keep him in similar company.

"He has some (physical) problems but he has a big heart and is very competitive," Dillow said of the horse. "We claimed him because we felt he was a horse on the improve, capable of competing in claiming company at Charles Town. He usually runs 6 1/2 to 7 furlongs."

Horseplay, owned by Wayne E. Johnson, has 42 lifetime starts and shows 13 wins, five seconds and seven thirds. He has earned $139,469.

Horseplay started his current streak on April 6 at Charles Town and won three straight $2,500 races, one for $3,500, another for $5,000 and another for $7,500. Dillow claimed him from trainer Jeff Runco.

Horseplay made his debut in the Dillow barn by winning a 6 1/2 furlong, $7,500 claiming race at Charles Town on July 29.

Dillow describes Horseplay as "a big old baby, very gentle."

Jockey Richard Cornwell, who rode Horseplay to victory on July 29, will likely him the thoroughbred the next trip to the starting gate.

A first for Krone

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