Ellis Park hosts big national races - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Ellis Park hosts big national races

They were average horses, some of which could been had for as little as $7,500 at some point in the last year.

But all of them proved to be something special and Saturday at Ellis Park, they--and their owners--had their day. 

The Claiming Crown series came to the Henderson track for the first time. Seven races, all featuring horses that were in a claiming race at some point in the last 12 months. Two national racing networks were providing coverage. 

Six hundred thousand dollars in total prize money was available. Ellis also ran its own claiming races in and around the Crown series.

Among those on hand, the winningest owner in the country last year, Maggi Moss, an attorney from Des Moines, Iowa who loves the idea of the crown being sort of a common man's Breeders Cup. "This is a fabulous place. The track looks great, the management has really come together to put on a great event for the people here in Kentucky and those of us that come from afar and they have done a great job."

Ellis spokesman Ron Geary says, "We have always had a wonderful track here. I think we have just tried to highlight it a little bit better, and we have the opportunity to do that with the Claiming Crown. All the horseman and the trainers, all the owners of all the horses in all of the Claiming Crown races are saying, 'What a great place we didn't  know about it, but were going to come back' and that's the good thing."

Prior to this year, the Claiming Crown races had been held at Canterbury Park in Minnesota. It will return there next year. Geary says Ellis will try to bring the event back in 2009 or 2010.

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