The most recent window for Triple Crown nominees open and closed this past weekend, and nine new horses emerged. The field now has 377 horses included, which is obviously far too many to run in any of the three races. More than anything, pledging to nominate your horse allows you the privilege to enter a horse in to the races if you choose to do so at a later date.
If this number seems immense, it isn’t. Last season, there were 438 Triple Crown nominees, with 429 being presented at the early window with another nine coming through in the later stage. If anything, this is business as usual in the sport of horse racing.
The late Triple Crown nominees are as follows:
Abiding Star – Winner of the Private Term Stakes at Laurel Park.
American Pioneer – Won his maiden race at Oaklawn Park on March 19th.
Cards of Stone – A Todd Pletcher trainee who dominated an allowance recently by 13 lengths.
Malibu Moon – Trained by Christopher Clement, and winner of the Gadner Stakes at Aqueduct.
Isofass – A florida-bred son of Rodman who has won a single race in four attempts.
Lookin For A Kiss – Son of Looking At Lucky and trained by Mike Tomlin.
My Man Sam – A Chad Brown trainee who has won a single allowance at Aqueduct.
Surgical Strike – Won the John Battaglia Memorial.
Zapperini – Placed fifth at the Risen Star and is the son of 2004 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Ghostzapper.
The Kentucky Derby serves as the opening leg of the Triple Crown, and allows for a field of 20. The majority of the participants in the Churchill Downs classic will have accumulated points from the derby prep races while also being nominated in the early or late windows.
The Preakness Stakes permits 14 starters, while the Belmont Stakes has 16 gates. Rarely do the latter two ever boast full fields.
Late Triple Crown nominees can also enter any of the races by paying a supplemental fee prior to that race. For the Kentucky Derby, the supplemental fee is $200,000, while the Preakness charges $150,000. The Belmont Stakes has a supplemental fee of just $75,000.
None of this means that any of those nine horses will actually compete in the Triple Crown races. It merely means that they’re eligible too if their handlers decide to point them in that direction.