John Jones, No Brakes among Claiming Crown Preview contenders

by | Oct 30, 2016 | Breaking, Maryland, MD Racing, Racing

John Jones. Photo by The Racing Biz.

From a Maryland Jockey Club release

John Jones, riding a three-race win streak kicked off by his upset of Ben’s Cat in the Mister Diz Stakes, and 11-year-old No Brakes, a veteran of 106 starts that has won two of his last three races, are among the horses being pointed to Claiming Crown Preview Day Sunday, Nov. 6 at Laurel Park.

Nine starter stakes worth a total of $400,000 in purses help comprise a card where all preview winners will earn an automatic berth to the $1.11 million Claiming Crown and free shipping to Gulfstream Park for the 18th edition of the event and fifth straight in South Florida on Saturday, Dec. 3.

A 4-year-old Smarty Jones gelding, John Jones is unbeaten in three starts and has banked $113,172 in purses since being claimed for $25,000 by trainer Lacey Gaudet on behalf of owner Matt Schera out of a fourth-place finish July 17 at Laurel.

John Jones pulled a 43-1 shocker in the Aug. 20 Mister Diz, run at six furlongs on turf, before reeling off back-to-back allowance wins going a mile on the main track, most recently Oct. 8. Gaudet will stick to dirt and attempt to stretch him out to 1 1/8 miles in the $60,000 Jewel for 3-year-olds and up that have started for a claiming price of $35,000 or less since Jan. 1, 2015.

“This horse is amazing. He’s great to have in the barn, and every race he runs better than the last and comes out of it better than he went into it,” Gaudet said. “He just keeps kicking. Every day he trains great. We’ve tried to key him up a little bit to go the mile and an eighth so he’s gone two miles a couple times and he just loves it. He loves to train and he loves his job right now. It makes it a lot easier to come in each the morning to train one like him.”

No Brakes, by the same Parker’s Storm Cat that produced legendary 26-time stakes-winning Maryland-bred Ben’s Cat, has hit the board 62 times in 106 starts with 22 wins and $429,358 in career purse earnings. Co-owned by T D C B E Stable and trainer Wayne Potts, he rallied from last to get up by a neck in seven-furlong allowance Sept. 25 last time out.

Appropriately enough, Potts is targeting the $40,000 Iron Horse going 1 1/16 miles for 3-year-olds and up that have started for a claiming price of $7,500 or less.

“Honestly, my horse is doing well. I’m sure there will be others in there that are pretty solid,” Potts said. “I don’t know if we are good enough but we will give it our best shot. Not shipping and running at our home track can’t hurt.”

Horses that have started for a claiming price of $25,000 or less since Jan. 1, 2015 are eligible to run in the $50,000 Emerald for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles, the $40,000 Distaff Dash for females 3 and up at 5 ½ furlongs, the $50,000 Tiara for females 3 and up at 1 1/16 miles and the $40,000 Canterbury for 3-year-olds and up at 5 ½ furlongs, all on turf.

Also on the Claiming Crown Preview Day program are the $40,000 Rapid Transit at seven furlongs for 3-year-olds and up that have started for a claiming price of $16,000 or less; the $40,000 Glass Slipper at one mile for females 3 and older that have raced for a tag of $12,500 or less; and the $40,000 Express, a six-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up that have started for a claiming price of $7,500 or less.

Entries will be drawn Thursday, Nov. 3. First race post will be 12:30 p.m.

First held in 1999 to honor the blue-collar horses that are the foundation of the racing industry nationwide, the Claiming Crown has historically drawn entries from all parts of North America and from many of the country’s leading stables.

The Claiming Crown is a joint venture between the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA). It was created to be the claiming horse owner’s Breeders’ Cup; a special racing event for the “average owner,” featuring some of the most competitive horses in the country.