Led by 2-year-old champion and upset Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Storm the Court, a total of 347 3-year-old Thoroughbreds were made eligible to compete in this year’s Triple Crown during the early nomination phase, which closed Jan. 25.
Each of the 347 horses from the 2017 foal crop was made eligible through a $600 payment to compete in any of the Triple Crown contests: the 146th running of the $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (Grade I) on May 2 at Churchill Downs (1 ¼ miles); the 145th running of the $1.5 million Preakness Stakes (GI) on May 16 at Pimlico Race Course (1 3/16 miles); and the 152nd running of the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (GI) on June 6 at Belmont Park (1 ½ miles).
The total slipped 4.1%, or 15 horses, from last year’s 362 that were nominated at the early stage.
Storm the Court, owned by Exline-Border Racing LLC, David A. Bernsen, Susanna Wilson and Dan Hudock, could make his 3-year-old debut in Sunday’s $200,000 San Vicente (GII) over seven furlongs at Santa Anita. Trained by Peter Eurton, the Kentucky-bred son of Court Vision improved his record to 4-2-0-1—$1,172,951 when he scored a head victory over fellow Triple Crown nominee Anneau d’Or at odds of 45-1 in the Nov. 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) at Santa Anita.
Other prominent nominees include stakes winners Authentic (Sham); Basin (Hopeful); Chance It (Mucho Macho Man); Dennis’ Moment (Iroquois); Eight Rings (American Pharoah); Enforceable (Lecomte); Gold Street (Sugar Bowl and Smarty Jones); Green Light Go (Saratoga Special); High Velocity (Bob Hope); Independence Hall (Nashua and Jerome); Liam’s Lucky Charm (Pasco); Max Player (Withers); Maxfield (Breeders’ Futurity); Mischevious Alex (Swale); Shoplifted (Springboard Mile); Shotski (Remsen); Silver Prospector (Kentucky Jockey Club); Structor (Pilgrim and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf); Thousand Words (Los Alamitos Futurity and Robert B. Lewis); and Tiz the Law (Champagne and Holy Bull
Ajaaweed, American Theorem, Answer In, As Seen On Tv, Azul Coast, Blackberry Wine, Candy Tycoon, Caracaro, Carpe Omnious, Cost Basis, Digital, Disc Jockey, Dreams Untold, Echo Town, Ete Indien, Exaulted, Farmington Road, Gouverneur Morris, Great Power, Honor A. P., Lane Way, Mailman Money, Major Fed, Market Analysis, Mr. Monomoy, Nadal, Palm Springs, Portos, Premier Star, Royal Act, Silver Ratio, Silver State, Three Technique, Toledo, Violent City, War Stopper, Wells Bayou and West Sider are just some of the numerous well-meant prospects that also were made eligible for the series.
Todd Pletcher, a two-time winner of the Kentucky Derby and three-time winner of the Belmont, led all trainers with 26 nominations. Hall of Fame conditioners Steve Asmussen, who has won three Triple Crown races, and Bob Baffert, a winner of a record 15 classics – were next with 21 and 19 nominees, respectively.
Brad Kelley’s Calumet Farm led all owners with 13 nominations. Godolphin was the leading breeder with nine nominees.
First-crop sire American Pharaoh, who swept the 2015 Triple Crown, was the leading sire with 15 offspring nominated. Uncle Mo was next with 13 and was followed by Into Mischief (12), Constitution (10), Liam’s Map (10), Curlin (9) and Tapit (9).
Seven fillies were nominated, including three-time stakes winner Finite and unbeaten Taraz, who comfortably won the Letellier Memorial at Fair Grounds and Martha Washington at Oaklawn.
The nominees also include 35 horses based outside North America, including a significant 20 from Japan – up from four last year – led by Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun winner Vacation (JPN) and Cattleya Sho winner Dieu du Vin (JPN). Also, 11 horses were nominated from Ireland, including six from power-house trainer Aidan O’Brien, led by Juddmonte Royal Lodge (GII) winner Royal Dornoch (IRE), and another three from his son Joseph.
Horses not nominated to the Triple Crown during the early phase can be made eligible at www.thetriplecrown.com for $6,000 during the late nomination period which continues through March 30. If not nominated by that date, horses can become eligible through payment of a supplemental nomination fee due at the time of entry for either the Kentucky Derby ($200,000), Preakness ($150,000) or Belmont ($50,000).
Thirteen horses have swept the Triple Crown series: 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), Affirmed (1978), American Pharoah (2015) and Justify (2018).
To view the entire list of early Triple Crown nominations, click here: 2020 Triple Crown Nominations
To download a .pdf file of this news release, click here: Champion Storm the Court Tops 347 Early Triple Crown Nominations