Gary Barber, Wachtel Stable, Christopher Dunn, Rose Petal Stable and Foard Wilgis’ recent private purchase Hoffa’s Union, a 15 ½-length maiden winner at Laurel and entrant in Saturday’s $750,000 Wood Memorial (Grade II) tops a group of four Thoroughbreds that were made eligible to compete in the 2019 Triple Crown with a late $6,000 payment that was due Monday.
With four late nominees during the Jan. 27-April 1 late nomination phase (pending late mail), there are now 366 horses eligible to participate in the Triple Crown’s three race series: the $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (Grade I), the $1.5 million Preakness Stakes (GI) and the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (GI). The early nomination total was 362 at $600 per horse.
Aside from Hoffa’s Union, two of the three other late Triple Crown nominees are entered in Saturday’s Wood Memorial: Michael Dubb, Coyle Boys Stable and Bethlehem Stables’ recent maiden winner Grumps Little Tots and Michael and Jeff Fazio’s Private Term Stakes runner-up Joevia
Also late nominated to the Triple Crown is Robert Donaldson’s 7 ¼-length first-level allowance victor Spun to Run.
The 2019 Triple Crown series opens Saturday, May 4 with the 145th running of the 1 ¼-mile Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. The 144th Preakness, the 1 3/16-mile second jewel, is set for Saturday, May 18 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md. The 151st running of the Belmont Stakes, its 1 ½-mile final leg, is scheduled for Saturday, June 8 at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.
Three-year-olds that were not nominated to the Triple Crown during either the early or late nomination phases have a final opportunity to become eligible for the races through payment of a supplemental nomination fee due at the time of each race’s entry: the Kentucky Derby ($200,000), Preakness Stakes ($150,000) and Belmont Stakes ($50,000). Supplemental nominees for the Kentucky Derby are treated the same as original nominees. If one or more supplemental nominees possess sufficient “Road to the Kentucky Derby” points to qualify for the Derby field, they will be allowed to start over original nominees that possess lesser qualifications.