Owners and trainers of three-year-old Thoroughbreds have
only a few days remaining to make their horses eligible for the 2013 Triple
Crown races during its early
nomination period to compete in the coveted series of American classics that
is comprised of the $2 million Kentucky Derby, $1 million Preakness and $1 million Belmont Stakes.
The deadline for early Triple Crown nominations is
Saturday at 11:59 p.m. (EST). Each nomination must be
accompanied by a fee of $600.
A late nomination period, which requires the payment of a
$6,000 for each nominated three-year-old, will open at midnight on Sunday and will run through March 23.
The 2013 Triple Crown series opens on May 4 with
the 139th running of the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in
Louisville, Kentucky. The 138th Preakness, the 1 3/16-mile second jewel, is set for
May 18 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. The 145th running of
the Belmont Stakes, its 1 1/2-mile final leg, is scheduled for June 8 at
Belmont Park in Elmont, New York.
All nominations made by traditional mail during the early nomination phase
must be postmarked by Saturday’s closing date. Triple Crown
nominations also can be made online at
TheTripleCrown.com, or via telephone with a designated representative
from one of the three Triple Crown host tracks. Online and telephone nominations
must be made prior to the 11:59 p.m. deadline on Saturday.
Horses that are not nominated to the Triple Crown in either
the early or late phases have a final opportunity to become eligible for the
races through payment of a supplemental nomination. That fee, paid at the time
of entry for either the Kentucky Derby, Preakness or Belmont Stakes, makes a
horse eligible for the remainder of the Triple Crown series. A supplemental
nomination made at the time of entry to the Kentucky Derby requires a fee of
$200,000. The supplemental fee is $100,000 to both the Preakness and the Belmont
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 this year’s running
will be determined for the first time by points earned in the new “Road to the
Kentucky Derby” eligibility system. The field for the Preakness is limited to 14
starters, while the 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 includes 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
It has been 34 years since the most recent Triple Crown
sweep by Affirmed in 1978 — the longest stretch without a Triple Crown in the
history of the series. The previous record was the 25-year gap between the 1948
Triple Crown earned by Citation and Secretariat’s record-shattering three-race
sweep in 1973.
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. However, the chestnut colt was denied
his Triple Crown bid when he was withdrawn from consideration for the Belmont
Stakes after he was injured in the days before that contest.