McFadden Memorial Sprint Claiming Series kicks off on Wednesday August 22nd
The second running of the McFadden Memorial Sprint Claiming Series at Portland Meadows will get underway on Wednesday August 22nd as there are 18 horses competing in two divisions for Leg 1 of the series. The Claiming Series is a three race series with two preliminary legs and a $20,000 Final set for Wednesday September 26th. One intriguing aspect of the McFadden Memorial Sprint Claiming Series is that during the first two races of the series, all horses are available for claiming prices. The first leg on Wednesday August 22nd will consist of five furlong races for a $2,500 claiming price. The second leg will be run on September 5th at a five and one half furlong distance with a $4,000 claiming price. Horses will try to accumulate points in the first two legs, with the top twelve point earners from those first two legs eligible for the $20,000 Final, which will be a six furlong event on Wednesday September 26th.
1st Place - 5 points
2nd Place - 4 points
3rd Place - 3 points
4th Place - 2 points
5th Place - 1 point
Leg 1 will consist of two divisions on Wednesday August 22nd and they have been carded as races 5 and 6 on the program, both featuring nine runners. The first division features a couple of runners who were big contenders in last year’s McFadden Memorial Sprint Claiming Series, Declan Downs and Taking Liberties. Both Taking Liberties and Declan Downs won their respective second legs of the McFadden Memorial Sprint Claiming Series. Both however didn’t fire their best shots in the final, but both come into this race in solid form, with Declan Downs a second place finish and a win in his last pair, and Taking Liberties coming off a nice win.
Zilver and It’s a Good Day both might be contenders coming into this race. Zilver is a speedster for leading trainer Jonathan Nance who should appreciate the cutback to five furlongs in Leg 1. It’s a Good Day will be taking a strong class drop for trainer Bennie Webb as he just ran second in a $10,000 allowance/optional claiming event.
Trainer Jonathan Nance will send out both Zilver and Kuya in the first division of Leg 1 and says his owners and he look forward to the Claiming Series.
“I will look at the form and sometimes I call my owners to ask about claiming a horse, and sometimes they call me excited about a runner,” said Nance. “The Series’ are a lot of fun, and we just kind of play each leg by ear on how we’re going to claim. Plus it depends on if they take our horses.”
The second division of Leg 1 features last year’s McFadden Memorial Sprint Claiming Series Final winner, Colonel Courtney. The 12 year old put on a huge performance for owner Michael Pollowitz last year in the final and has remained in good form ever since. He scored a five length win in his last start, a route event at Emerald Downs. Luis Torres will be on board for trainer Steve Fisher in Leg 1.
“I think he’s doing well,” said Michael Pollowitz who owns Colonel Courtney in partnership with Jeff Wilson. “He’s had some time off and he’s working through his old age issues. He worked over the track and is working well. I think he’ll be competitive.”
Pollowitz knows a thing or two about how to play the claiming game, as last year he had tremendous success when he claimed Colonel Courtney and Inhoc Signo Vinces in Leg 2 of the McFadden Memorial Claiming Series last season, and they came back to run first and second in the Final.
“I’ve talked with Steve already and we have some horses we’re interested in,” said Pollowitz. “We put in four claims last week for the Filly and Mare Claiming Series and got one of them for $2,500. We like the action, it’s a really fun thing for owners.”
D Devil is back for his second crack at the McFadden Memorial Sprint Claiming Series, as he took his division of Leg 1 last year before finishing fourth in the final behind Colonel Courtney. The distance might be to his advantage though, as he is 2 for 3 career at the five furlong distance.
First post on Wednesday night at Portland Meadows is 6pm and the McFadden Memorial Sprint Claiming Series races are carded as races 5 and 6.
The McFadden Memorial Sprint Claiming Series is named after Julien McFadden, the “Father of Oregon Horse Racing.” The name McFadden and Oregon horse racing go back a long way, in fact they go back to times before there was horse racing in the state. Pari-mutuel wagering made its way to Oregon because of Julian McFadden, who wrote and passed the bill in 1933 in his first year as a legislator in Oregon, which allowed pari-mutuel wagering to come to Oregon.