Claimbox: 2017 claiming activity rises, tops $24 million

by | Jan 9, 2018 | Breaking, Business, Regionwide, Top Stories |

Racing at Laurel Park. Photo by The Racing Biz.

by Frank Vespe

Maryland-based trainer Kieron Magee claimed nearly 100 horses in the mid-Atlantic region in 2017 — 97, to be precise — to lead all trainers in a year in which claiming activity rose 6.1 percent in the number of horses claimed and 7.6 percent by their value, according to an analysis of Equibase statistics.

In all, some 2,302 horses were claimed at mid-Atlantic tracks in 2017, up from 2,169 a year ago. The total value of those horses was $24,171,750, up about 7.6 percent form a year ago with the average inching up 1.4 percent to $10,500.

Our Claimbox report covers claiming activity taking place at Laurel, Pimlico, and Timonium in Maryland; Charles Town Races in West Virginia; Delaware Park; Penn National and Parx Racing in Pennsylvania; and Monmouth Park and The Meadowlands in New Jersey.

Charles Town, Delaware Park, the trio of Maryland tracks, and Parx Racing all saw claiming activity increase in 2017. Parx saw the biggest rise in claims, with 958 horses changing hands via the Bensalem, PA claimbox — an increase of 24 percent versus 2016. Parx was also by far the region’s busiest track, and its sales volume — just shy of $10 million — was highest, as well. At the three Maryland tracks, claiming activity was up 8.3 percent, while Charles Town saw 15.3 percent more horses claimed, and Delaware saw a rise just shy of 20 percent.

Laurel Park was second in the region in horses claimed — with 518 — and also second in sales volume. Those claims were worth a combined $6.375 million.

On the flip side of the equation, both Penn National and the two New Jersey tracks saw claiming activity falter. The Jersey ovals — Monmouth Park and the Meadowlands — saw claiming activity drop 33 percent from 2016. The number of horses claimed in the state fell from 194 in ’16 to 130 this past year. Meanwhile, claiming activity at Penn National was off by 18.3 percent, dipping from 421 to 344.

Magee’s 97 claims were the most in the region, 15 more than Michael Pino made, and his $1.2 million in claims also were the highest. All told 410 trainers claimed at least one horse in the region in 2017, while 466 lost at least one via the claimbox.

Zipped Code, a now-eight-year-old City Zip gelding was the horse claimed more often than any other in the mid-Atlantic. He was claimed seven times in 2017, the first occurring on February 6 and the most recent on December 9, when trainer Marya Montoya took him for $7,500. All of those claims were for either $5,000 or $7,500.



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