The late nomination period for the classic races of the 2014 Triple Crown concluded late Saturday, March 22 with a total of 10 additional 3-year-old Thoroughbreds added to the roster of horses that are eligible to complete in the 2014 renewal of the prized three-race series.
The additions raised the overall nomination total for the Triple Crown races to 424 (pending late mail), which is the largest total since a record 460 horses were nominated in 2008. The 2014 total reflects an 11 percent increase from the 382 in 2013 and is the eighth-highest since the common nominating process for the three races was established in 1986.
Late nominations of 3-year-olds by owners and trainers were due by 11:59 p.m. (all times Eastern) on Saturday, March 22 and payment of a $6,000 fee was required for each late nominee.
The Triple Crown series opens Saturday, May 3 with the 140th running of the 1 ¼-mile, $2 million-guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. The 139th running of the $1.5 million Preakness (GI), the 1 3/16-mile second jewel, is set for Saturday, May 17 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md. The 146th running of the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (GI) the 1 ½-mile final leg, will be run on Saturday, June 7 at Belmont Park, in Elmont, N.Y.
The most accomplished of the late nominees based in North America are Sharon Alesia, Bran Jam Stable and Ciaglia Racing LLC/Peter Eurton’s Dance With Fate, runner-up in the recent El Camino Real Derby (GIII) at Golden Gate Fields and in Grade I competition as a 2-year-old in the FrontRunner at Santa Anita and the Del Mar Futurity, and Skychai Racing LLC, Terry Raymond and Jana Wagner’s Harry’s Holiday, who ran a close second to We Miss Artie in Saturday’s Spiral (GIII) at Turfway Park.
But the only graded stakes winner among the late Triple Crown nominees is Triple M. Racing Group LLC’s Tonito M., a son of Rock Hard Ten now trained by Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer who raced previously in Puerto Rico. Tonito M. won six of seven career starts at Camarero Race Park, including the Grade I Clasico Agustin Mercado Reveron Stakes in December and an 11 ½-length victory in the Grade III George Washington Stakes on Feb. 16.
The complete roster of late nominations to the 2014 Triple Crown includes (with owner, trainer).
- Big Tire (Halo Farms/Mark Glatt)
- Charleymillionaire (Red Oak Stable/Gregory Sacco)
- Dance With Fate (Sharon Alesia, Bran Jam Stable and Ciaglia Racing LLC/Peter Eurton)
- Effinex (Tri-Bone Stable/David Smith)
- Fabulous Kid (K.K. Jayaraman and V. Devi Jayaraman/William Martin)
- Friends with K Mill (Neil Haymes, Dave Kenny and Wonderland Racing Stables/Doug O’ Neill)
- Gaining Ground (Donald P. Ogden/Michael Wilson)
- Harry’s Holiday (Skychai Racing LLC, Terry Raymond and Jana Wagner/ Mike Maker)
- Tonito M. (Triple M. Racing Group LLC, Jerry Hollendorfer)
- Twenty Percent (Neil Haymes, Dave Kenny and Wonderland Racing Stables/Doug O’ Neill)
The early nomination phase for the 2014 Triple Crown races concluded on Jan. 25 with an international cast of 414 horses made eligible for the three-race series. Thirteen horses were made eligible for the Triple Crown during the late nomination period in 2013, a total that lifted the year’s overall count to 382.
Three-year-olds that were not nominated to the Triple Crown during its early and late nomination phases will have a final opportunity to become eligible to compete in one or all of those races through the payment of a supplemental nomination fee. Due at the time of entry for either the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness or the Belmont Stakes, the supplemental fee process makes a horse eligible for the remainder of the Triple Crown series. A supplemental nomination at the time of entry to the Kentucky Derby requires payment of $200,000. The fee is $150,000 if paid prior to the Preakness or $75,000 at time of entry to the Belmont Stakes.
Churchill Downs adjusted its supplemental nomination process this year to allow nominations made prior to the Kentucky Derby to be treated the same as original nominees. If a supplemental nominee has collected sufficient points to qualify for the Derby field, that horse would be allowed to start over early or late nominees that possess lesser qualifications. Under its previous policy, Churchill Downs gave preference to original nominees to the Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown over supplemental nominees.
The purses for the 2014 renewals of the Preakness and Belmont Stakes will be the richest in the history of the classic races. The Maryland Jockey Club and the New York Racing Association increased the purses for their respective Triple Crown races by $500,000. The boost to the Preakness purse is the first since an increase to $1 million-guaranteed in 1998, and the Belmont Stakes purse rose to the $1 million level that same year. The Kentucky Derby purse climbed to $1 million guaranteed in 1996, and Churchill Downs raised it to its current level in 2005.
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 by points earned in the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” eligibility system, which debuted in 2013. If more than the maximum field of 20 horses is entered in the race, up to four “also eligible” entrants will be permitted. If one or more starters are scratched prior to 9 a.m. on Friday, May 2, the also-eligible horse or horses with the highest preference in the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” system will be allowed to replace the scratched horse or horses in the starting gate.
The Preakness field is limited to 14 starters and the Belmont Stakes permits a maximum of 16 horses.