HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – The Claiming Crown will return to Gulfstream Park Saturday, marking the first major event of the South Florida track’s 2013-2014 Champions Meet.

Since its inaugural event in 1999, the Claiming Crown has championed the cause of the claiming horses that have provided the very foundation of Thoroughbred racing programs throughout the country. Presented by Gulfstream Park for the second year in a row, the tribute to the Sport of King’s most enduring and competitive performers will offer a record $1 million in purses for an expanded eight-race event on Saturday’s 10-race card.

The Claiming Crown, a creation of the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, attracted 90 entries Wednesday for the eight races that will be included in the 10-cent Ultimate 8 multi-race wager with a guaranteed minimum pool of $100,000.

“Having the Florida HBPA stepping up to the plate last year and stepping up to the plate even more this year to take it up to a million dollars with the minimum purse being $110,000 has made the Claiming Crown really attractive to owners,” said Phil Hanrahan, CEO of the NHBPA.

Kent Sterling, executive director of the Florida HBPA, has taken pride in the success of the Claiming Crown at Gulfstream.

“The Florida HBPA is once again proud to host the Claiming Crown along with our partners Gulfstream Park, TOBA and the National HBPA. This is a million-dollar day entirely devoted to the blue-collar backbone of racing, the claiming horse,” Sterling said. “The concept of the Claiming Crown is the brainchild of TOBA’s Drew Couto and the NHBPA’s Bill Walmsley and Scott Savin. Who knew 15 years ago that it would become the signature opening event for Gulfstream Park?”

The success of the Claiming Crown at Gulfstream has rewarded the dedication of its founders in providing lucrative opportunities for the owners of horses that compete in the claiming ranks.

“The goals of the Claiming Crown remain unchanged since its inception in 1999 at Canterbury Park,” said TOBA president Dan Metzger. “We have always wanted to demonstrate our support to the owners of the claiming horses, who are the backbone of our industry. The support for the Claiming Crown by horsemen over the years has elevated the event to a higher level and we could not be more excited about the future.”