Thirteen late nominees to Triple Crown
The roster of three-year-old Thoroughbreds eligible for the 2013 Triple Crown has grown to 382 with the addition of 13 late nominations (pending late mail) to the coveted series of American classic races: the $2 million Kentucky Derby, the $1 million Preakness and the $1 million Belmont Stakes.
The most accomplished of the late nominees is Sterling Racing's Black Onyx, winner of Saturday's Grade 3 Spiral Stakes for trainer Kelly Breen at Turfway Park. Also among the late nominees are Sunrise Stables, Gary Tolchin, Aubrey Flanagan and Bob Smith's Giant Finish, third in the Spiral for trainer Tony Dutrow; Undrafted, third in the Grade 3 Swale at Gulfstream Park for owner and National Football League star Wes Welker and trainer Wesley Ward; and the Al Stall Jr.-trained duo of Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider's Departing, winner of the Texas Heritage at Sam Houston Park, and Brittlyn Stable Inc.'s Sunbean, whose three wins against state-bred competition in Louisiana include the Gentilly Stakes at Fair Grounds.
The deadline for late nominations to the Triple Crown was on-or-before Saturday, March 23. A fee of $6,000 was required to add each horse to the overall list of 2013 Triple Crown-nominated horses.
Early nominations to the three-race series closed January 26 with 369 horses eligible for the 2013 Triple Crown. A nomination fee of $600 was required for each horse to become eligible prior to the early deadline.
The 2013 Triple Crown will get underway Saturday, May 4, with the 139th running of the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. The Preakness, the 1 3/16-mile second jewel, is set to be run for the 138th time on Saturday, May 18, at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. The 145th running of the Belmont Stakes, the 1 1/2-mile final jewel of the elusive series, is scheduled for Saturday, June 8, at Belmont Park, in Elmont, New York.
Other late nominees include Infinite Magic, a recent purchase by Team Valor International with two wins from five starts in Britain that include a recent 1 1/4-mile triumph over the all-weather surface at Lingfield; the Mike Maker-trained duo of Brazilian Court and Wings of Fortune, each of which has a maiden victory to his credit; Are You Kidding Me, runner-up in the Grade 2 Summer Stakes last year on turf at Woodbine for trainer Roger Attfield; Erik the Red, a recent maiden winner for trainer Linda Rice at Aqueduct; the Bruce Headley-trained Storm Fighter, a recent maiden winner at Santa Anita; Narvaez, who scored his second career victory in a dead-heat with early Triple Crown nominee Declan's Warrior in a recent optional claiming allowance race at Gulfstream Park; and Hip Four Sixtynine, who scored his first victory in seven races in a maiden race at Fair Grounds on February 23.
All of the late Triple Crown nominees are colts. Nine of the 13 were bred in Kentucky, with the others bred in California, Florida, Louisiana and New York.
Graham Motion, who won the 2011 Kentucky Derby with Animal Kingdom, is the trainer of Infinite Magic and now has seven nominees in his care. Maker's pair of late nominees also raised his overall total to seven, while Black Onyx is Breen's fifth nominee.
Horses not nominated to the Triple Crown during either nomination phase will have a final opportunity to become eligible for the series through a supplemental nomination process. Those horses can become eligible for one or all of the Triple Crown races with the payment of a supplemental nomination fee at the time of entry of any of the three races. A supplemental nominee is eligible to run in the remaining Triple Crown events after payment of the fee. A supplemental nomination at the time of entry to the Kentucky Derby requires a payment of $200,000, but preference is given to original nominees first. The supplemental fee is $100,000 if paid prior to either the Preakness or Belmont Stakes.
The 2012 Triple Crown series attracted 398 early nominations. Twenty more horses were added during the late nomination phase, which brought total Triple Crown nominations for 2012 to 418. The final total was the largest since a record 460 nominations were received in 2007 and 2008.
The Kentucky Derby field has been limited to 20 starters since 1975 and the horses that enter the starting gate for its 2013 renewal will be determined for the first time by points earned in the new "Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by TwinSpires.com" eligibility system. The field for the Preakness is limited to 14 starters, while Belmont Stakes permits a maximum field of 16 horses.
A sweep of the three Triple Crown races -- one of the most difficult feats in all of sports -- has been accomplished on only 11 occasions. The roster of Triple Crown winners is Sir Barton (1919), Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1943), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977) and Affirmed (1978).
The current gap of 35 years since the 1978 sweep by Affirmed is the longest stretch without a Triple Crown in the history of the series. The previous record was the 25 years between the 1948 Triple Crown earned by Citation and Secretariat's dramatic and dominant sweep in 1973.
Reddam Racing's I'll Have Another became the 51st horse to take two of the three Triple Crown races with triumphs in the 2012 renewals of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. The Doug O'Neill-trained colt was expected to be a heavy favorite to complete the Triple Crown sweep, but he was withdrawn from consideration from the Belmont Stakes after being injured a few days before the series' final jewel.
Late Nominations to 2013 Triple Crown:
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