A total of 369 three-year-olds have been made early nominees to this year’s Triple Crown, an increase of 18.2%, or 57 horses, from last year’s total of 312. The early nomination phase closed Jan. 28.
The nominees are led by Forte, the 2022 juvenile colt champion who captured the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), Breeders’ Futurity (G1), and Hopeful (G1) last season. A record 37 horses based in Japan have been nominated, eclipsing the previous record of 21 set last year. Two fillies, Hoosier Philly and Julia Shining, are also among the early nominees.
Each of the 369 horses from the 2020 foal crop were made eligible through a $600 payment to compete in any leg of the Triple Crown series. The 2023 Triple Crown opens May 6 with the Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs. The Preakness (G1) will be held May 20 at Pimlico, and the Belmont S. (G1) at Belmont Park will be run June 10.
Three-year-olds that were not nominated to the Triple Crown during the early nomination phase can pay a late payment of $6,000 through March 27.