Preakness

Kentucky Derby Winner, Triple Crown Hope American Pharoah Returns To Churchill Downs

With his date with racing history in the June 6 Belmont Stakes (Grade I) on the near horizon, Zayat Stables’ Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) and Preakness (GI) winner American Pharoah returned to Churchill Downs on Monday to prepare for the third jewel of racing’s Triple Crown.

The Bob Baffert-trained son of Pioneerof the Nile stepped off a van around 2:30 p.m. (all times EDT) at the track that has been his training center since his arrival for the Kentucky Derby on April 27.  American Pharoah won the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 2 and moved a step closer to racing’s first Triple Crown winner since 1978 with his seven-length romp in the Preakness at rain-soaked Pimlico on Saturday.

The colt boarded a plane in Baltimore in late morning for the flight to Louisville, which touched down around 2 p.m. Assistant trainer Jim Barnes led American Pharoah to the barn following a short van ride from Louisville International Airport.

“Everything went very well,” Barnes said. “He’s a very good shipper.  We had a day to rest in Baltimore, which always helps.  Usually we have to get out of there real early the next morning, so we were able to give him a regular day off there. 

“He came in here with very high energy, so everything looks good.”

Back in familiar surroundings at Churchill Downs, American Pharoah’s activity will be limited to the barn for the next few days.

“The next five days will be very light,” Barnes said.  “He’ll probably walk another three to four days, and then he’ll probably have a couple of jog days.  Basically right now it’s just getting a little weight on him and getting him happy.  He looked fine today getting off the van here.”

American Pharoah did not work between the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, but that will not be the case in the nearly three weeks leading up to the Preakness.  Barnes said the colt would work once or twice before the mile and a half “Test of the Champion,” but the schedule would be determined by Baffert.

Owner-breeder Ahmed Zayat’s colt will be fourth Baffert trainee to attempt a rare Triple Crown sweep.  Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998) and War Emblem (2002) each won the first two jewels of the Triple Crown, but could not win the Belmont – although Silver Charm and Real Quiet were runners-up in their respective runnings.

“It is exciting.  It’s not our first time at it.  You have to just prepare yourself for anything, because it’s a tough one to win.  The first one (the Kentucky Derby) is very tough.  We’ve had a lot of success in the Preakness, and I don’t know why that is.  The Derby winners and the horses that run well (for us) in the Derby ship-up to Baltimore and really run well there. 

“The next one’s the tough one.  It’s a mile and a half and a big sandy track, and you have the new shooters coming.  But whatever happens, happens.  We’d love to win it, but if it doesn’t happen we’re good losers.  But we would like to make history.”

American Pharoah Returns To Churchill Downs Monday To Prepare For Belmont Stakes, Triple Crown Bid

Zayat Stables’ American Pharoah, the Kentucky Derby champ who splashed his way to a seven-length romp in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes, is booked on a Monday flight from Baltimore to Louisville and is expected to arrive at Churchill Downs’ Barn 33 around 2 p.m. ET to begin preparations for the 147th running of the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (Grade I) on Saturday, June 6, according to stall manager Steve Hargrave.

American Pharoah will travel from the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport to Louisville International Airport on a H.E. “Tex” Sutton Forwarding Company charter flight with a pair of stablemates: Michael Petersen’s Cat Burglar, who was third in Friday’s Pimlico Special (GIII), and Kaleem Shah Inc.’s Luminance, fifth in Friday’s Black-Eyed Susan (GII).

On Sunday morning, Hargrave expected Monday’s flight to land in Louisville around 1:30 p.m. ET with the van expected to drop the horses off at Baffert’s Barn 33 about a half-hour later.

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert appears to be following a schedule he used with his three other Triple Crown prospects. Kentucky Derby winners Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998) and War Emblem (2002) returned to Churchill Downs to prepare for the Belmont Stakes after winning the Preakness. Each had two breezes between the second and third jewels of the Triple Crown. The first workouts came 11 or 12 days after the Preakness (Silver Charm: 6F in 1:14.80 11 days after the Preakness; Real Quiet: 5F in :59.80 12 days after the Preakness; and War Emblem: 5F in 1:00.60 11 days after the Preakness). Their final breezes were staged on the Tuesday before the Belmont (Silver Charm: 5F in 1:00; Real Quiet: 5F in 1:01; and War Emblem: 5F in 1:01).

If Baffert follows a similar plan, American Pharoah could breeze sometime around Wednesday, May 27 with a final breeze on Tuesday, June 2 before catching a flight to New York on Wednesday, June 3.

American Pharoah (7-6-0-0—$3,730,300) is likely to have light activity in the week ahead, according to Baffert. After winning the Run for the Roses, the colt remained in his barn until the Thursday after the Derby.

American Pharoah’s pursuit for racing immortality will mark the 14th time – and third in the last four years – since Affirmed swept all three races in 1978 that a horse has had a chance to join the 11 Triple Crown champions. According to reports, his challengers in the 1 ½-mile Belmont could include Carpe Diem, Frammento, Frosted, Keen Ice, Madefromlucky, Materiality, Mubtaahij (IRE) and Tale of Verve.

LOUISVILLE HANDICAP TAKES SHAPE – Next Saturday’s featured event at Churchill Downs is the 78th running of the $100,000 Louisville Handicap (Grade III) and Gallant StablesMajestic Harbor could be the 116-pound starting high weight if trainer Paul McGee elects to run the 7-year-old in the 1 ½-mile turf marathon. Other known possible starters are Calvados-ARG (115 pounds), Golden Soul (115), Cozy Kitten (114), For Greater Glory (114), Xtra Luck (114) and Russellin (113).

McGee says Majestic Harbor exited his April 25 triumph in a Churchill Downs allowance optional claiming event in good order and is “probable” for the Lou ’Cap. However, the $400,000 Brooklyn Invitational (GII) at 1 ½ miles on dirt on the Belmont Stakes undercard also is under consideration.

“We may run in the Brooklyn; we still haven’t decided on that yet,” McGee said. “He’s doing real well right now. He’s run twice on turf. The first time he ran third at Del Mar and the other time was against Finnegan’s Wake who came back and won the Woodford Reserve, so I think that may have flattered his grass form a little bit. It’s kind of an unknown I guess you could say. I don’t know that he likes the grass any more than he likes the dirt, but it doesn’t necessarily work against him either.”

Charles E. Fipke’s Golden Soul, second to Orb two years ago in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI), has racked up a pair of allowance wins on the Matt Winn Turf Course. In two starts this year, 5-year-old Golden Soul has not finished in the money. His last start came in the Feb. 21 Fair Grounds Handicap (GIII) where he ran ninth beaten 7 ½ lengths. Trainer Dallas Stewart, who saddled Tale of Verve to an upset second-place finish in Saturday’s Preakness, won three consecutive editions of the Louisville Handicap from 2004-06 with Silverfoot, who is only the second horse to win three consecutive runnings of this race. Chorwon scored three straight Louisville Handicaps from 1997-99.

ROMANS’ ANGELS PLANS UPDATED – Trainer Dale Romans is looking ahead with his trio of recent stakes-winning females: Birdatthewire, Keen Pauline and Molly Morgan.

Stonestreet Stables’ Keen Pauline pulled a 15-1 wire-to-wire upset in Friday’s Black Eyed Susan (GII) at Pimlico, and Romans said the race unfolded according to plan.

“I’ve been pointing her since the beginning of the year toward the Black Eyed Susan,” he said. “There was no speed in the race so the whole plan was to go the lead and go wire to wire. She is quick but she has the pedigree to run forever. I don’t know if she wants to be going against the best just yet. We’ve got a long year and a lot of 3-year-old options. I’ll figure it out in the next week or so.”

Bill Cubbedge’s Molly Morgan breezed five furlongs in 1:02.60 Saturday morning, and the five-time winner at Churchill Downs is on target for either the $200,000 Fleur de Lis (GII) on June 13 – a 1 1/8-mile race she won last year – or the $1 million Delaware Handicap (GI) at Delaware Park on July 18.

Forum Racing IV’s Birdatthewire also breezed five furlongs Saturday, clocking the distance in in 1:00.20. Fifth in the Longines Kentucky Oaks, she is more than likely to make her next start on the Belmont Stakes undercard in the $750,000 Acorn Stakes (GI).

Meanwhile, Donegal Racing’s Keen Ice breezed five furlongs in 1:01.80 on Friday and remains on target for the Belmont Stakes (GI) in three weeks.

DOWN THE STRETCH – Churchill Downs will have a special five-day racing week in the coming week. After dark days on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the Louisville track will host programs on Thursday (5 p.m. ET), Friday (12:45 p.m. ET), Saturday (12:45 p.m. ET), Sunday (12:45 p.m. ET) and Memorial Day Monday (12:45 p.m. ET). The Memorial Day feature is the 12th running of the $100,000 Winning Colors (GIII), a six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares. Possible starters, according to assistant racing secretary and stakes coordinator Dan Bork, are Enchanting Lisa, Heykittykittykitty, Milam, defending champ Southern Honey, Spring Included, Toni’s Hollyday and You Bought Her. … Stall manager Steve Hargrave reports that Danzig Moon, sixth in the Preakness Stakes, is expected to return to Churchill Downs via a van ride overnight around 2 a.m. ET.

California Chrome Gallops, Heads to Pimlico; Bayern Works and Ria Antonia Confirmed for Preakness

Kentucky Derby (Grade 1) winner California Chrome completed the Churchill Downs portion of his training for Saturday’s Preakness Stakes (GI) by galloping 1 ¼ miles early Monday morning with Willie Delgado aboard.

“Everything is perfect. I couldn’t ask for anything more,” said Alan Sherman, assistant to his father Art Sherman, of the colt’s stay in Louisville following his victory in the May 3 Run for the Roses. “He lost a little weight after the race, but put it all back on quickly.”

Owned by breeders Steve Coburn and Perry Martin, California Chrome was led onto a van by Delgado at 10:17 a.m. (all time Eastern) and left Churchill Downs five minutes later for the ride to Lexington and a flight that would take him and three other Preakness hopefuls to Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course for the Triple Crown’s second jewel.

In other news concerning likely Preakness runners stabled at Churchill Downs, Kaleem Shah’s Bayern worked five furlongs in 1:02.60 and trainer Tom Amoss confirmed that Christopher Dunn and Loooch Racing Stable’s Ria Antonia would be entered Wednesday for the middle jewel of the Triple Crown and that Calvin Borel would have the mount.

Bayern and jockey Rosie Napravnik came on the track shortly after 6 o’clock. Starting about a length back on the outside of 5-year-old multiple graded-stakes winner Drill with Jorge Alvarez up, Bayern produced fractions of :13.60, :26.40, :38 .80 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:15.20.

The five-furlong move by the Bob Baffert trainee was the ninth fastest of 17 at the distance.

After a 7 o’clock call Monday morning with Ron Paolucci (Loooch Racing Stable), Amoss confirmed Ria Antonia would be entered in Saturday’s Preakness.

“She had a nice work yesterday (:47.60 for a half-mile with Borel up) and looks good today,” Amoss said. “We have a healthy, sound horse and we are ready to roll the dice.”

Ria Antonia finished sixth in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) on May 2 and joined the Amoss barn three days later.

“The idea (to run in the Preakness) was Ron’s,” said Amoss, who has trained a string of horses for Loooch for two years. “She passed all the tests with us physically, mentally and how she trained.

“I got to see her before the Oaks and she prepared well and worked well before the race. I don’t know what happened in the Oaks, but I like the way she looks now.”

Ria Antonia will become the first filly to run in the Preakness since Rachel Alexandra in 2009. Rachel’s rider that day was Borel.

“We wanted to get a rider that had the opportunity to work her and feel good about it,” Amoss said. “I know Calvin’s confidence is strong after the work.”

Borel has ridden in the Preakness two other times; 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, who finished second to Curlin, and 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver, who finished eighth behind Lookin At Lucky.

Amoss knows it will be a challenge to knock off Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome on Saturday.

“We are looking forward to running,” said Amoss, whose Mylute finished third in last year’s Preakness behind Oxbow. “I see it as California Chrome versus the rest. If he runs his race, he’ll win. If it is not his day, it opens a number of possibilities and opportunities for the other runners, including us.”

Ria Antonia is scheduled to return to the track to jog Tuesday morning then gallop Wednesday morning before getting on an early afternoon flight to Baltimore from Louisville International Airport.

The other Preakness hopefuls at Churchill Downs are Daniel Dougherty’s Ride On Curlin and John Oxley’s Dynamic Impact.

Ride On Curlin galloped an easy 1 1/8 miles shortly after the track opened with Bryan Beccia aboard.

Seventh in the Kentucky Derby (G1), Ride On Curlin left Churchill Downs by van shortly after 10 a.m. for the trip to Lexington and a flight to Baltimore along with Derby winner California Chrome and Preakness hopefuls General a Rod and Pablo Del Monte.

Dynamic Impact walked the shedrow at Barn 36, a day after working five furlongs in 1:01.60 “He came out of the work fine and will go back to the track Tuesday,” said Norman Casse, assistant to his father Mark Casse.

'Bullet' Work for Preakness Hope Bayern; Rosario Gets Preakness Mount on Ride On Curlin

BAYERN WORKS BULLET TOWARD PREAKNESS -- Kaleem Shah’s Bayern, working in company with the two-time graded stakes-winning  filly Awesome Baby, drilled five furlongs in :58.20 over a fast Churchill Downs racing surface after Monday morning’s renovation break for a possible start in the May 17 Preakness Stakes (GI).

Trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Rosie Napravnik, Bayern started two lengths behind and on the outside of Awesome Baby, who was ridden by Joe Rocco Jr. Bayern drew to within a length on the turn and finished three lengths in front in posting the fastest move of 19 at the distance for the morning. Fractions were  :23, :34.40 and a six-furlong gallop out in 1:13.40.

Bayern finished first in the Derby Trial (GIII) on April 26 at Churchill Downs but was disqualified and placed second behind Embellishing Bob for interference in the stretch.

ROSARIO SET FOR RIDE ON CURLIN IN PREAKNESS – Should Daniel Dougherty’s Ride On Curlin move on to the Preakness following his seventh-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, it will be with a new rider.

Agent Ron Anderson confirmed by telephone that Joel Rosario would be aboard Ride On Curlin in the Preakness (GI), the second jewel of the Triple Crown that will be run at Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course on Saturday, May 17.  Rosario piloted Orb to victory in the 2013 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI).

Trainer Billy Gowan was not happy with the ride Calvin Borel gave the colt in his seventh-place finish in the Kentucky Derby.

“I told him before the race that he had three-eighths of a mile to work his way over (from post 19),” Gowan said. “He (Ride On Curlin) was not tired at all after the Derby. He only ran three-eighths of a mile. He was more tired after his seven-eighths work last Sunday.”

Gowan said Ride On Curlin is doing well and would return to the track Wednesday.

Dougherty echoed his trainer’s thoughts.

“I walked back with him after the Arkansas Derby (G1) and he was tired,” Dougherty said of the runner-up effort. “He wasn’t tired Saturday.”

Even though his Derby dream was dashed, Dougherty was able to find one positive going forward with Ride On Curlin.

"It is only two weeks (to the Preakness) and you don’t want to leave it all out there on the track,” Dougherty said.

CALIFORNIA CHROME TO HEAD TO BALTIMORE NEXT MONDAY -- Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) winner California Chrome had an easy morning walking the shedrow Monday at Churchill Downs.

“Everything is good here,” said Alan Sherman, son of trainer Art Sherman. “He’ll go back to the track Wednesday to jog and then will gallop every day until we go to Maryland.”

Alan Sherman said California Chrome is scheduled to fly to Baltimore next Monday.

After training hours, Alan Sherman and exercise rider Willie Delgado went to the Kentucky Derby Museum to pass out roses from the Derby blanket to lucky Museum visitors.

Owned by breeders Steven Coburn and Perry Martin, California Chrome will bring a five-race win streak to the Preakness, having won those races by a combined 26 ¼ lengths.

Orb also rode a five-race win streak into Pimlico last year, a streak that included a maiden and allowance win. California Chrome’s streak is comprised of all stakes victories.

The most recent Derby winner with a winning streak as long as California Chrome’s to extend it in the Preakness was Smarty Jones in 2004 when he hiked his undefeated run to eight.

BARN TALK -- West Point Thoroughbreds’ Commanding Curve, runner-up to California Chrome in Kentucky Derby 140, walked at trainer Dallas Stewart’s barn Monday morning.

West Point also is part of the ownership of Ring Weekend, trained by Graham Motion.

“I don’t know about any other horses; I’m just training my horse,” Stewart said. “My horse came out of the race good. But it’s tough coming back in two weeks and there are a lot of other races out there.” …

John Oxley’s Dynamic Impact galloped before the morning renovation break at Churchill Downs with exercise rider Marco Cano up for trainer Mark Casse.

Winner of the Illinois Derby (GIII) in his most recent start, Dynamic Impact worked  five furlongs in 1:00.20 on Saturday morning at Churchill Downs.

“He worked well the other morning and he trained great today,” Casse said.

Casse plans to fly Dynamic Impact to Pimlico this Wednesday and that Miguel Mena will retain the mount for the Preakness. …

Trainer D. Wayne Lukas said that Robert Baker and William Mack’s Hopeful (G1) winner Strong Mandate will not run in the Preakness.  “He’s not going,” said Lukas, who won his sixth Preakness last May with Oxbow. “I am going to wait until Saratoga.” …

Jon Court, who sustained a broken hand in a spill in Saturday’s 13th race, was scheduled to see a doctor Monday to determine how long he would be sidelined, according to his agent Steve Krajcir. …

Trainer Steve Margolis said that Martin Cherry’s homebred Embellishing Bob, winner of the April 26 Derby Trial (GIII) via disqualification, is being pointed to the $500,000 Woody Stephens (GII) at seven furlongs on June 7 at Belmont Park.

Click here for a link to a PDF copy of the May 5, 2014 edition of Barn Notes.

Dance With Fate, Harry's Holiday Head 10 Late Nominations to Kentucky Derby, Triple Crown

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 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 milllion-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 Front Runner 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 Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati 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, the highest early total since 401 horses were made early nominees in 2009.  Eleven horses were nominated during the 2009 late phase to bring the overall total to 412.

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.

'Late Mail' Lifts Kentucky Derby, Triple Crown Early Nomination Roster to 414

The nomination of a 3-year-old Thoroughbred to the 2014 Triple Crown races received via “late mail” has lifted the overall total for early nominations to the coveted three-race series of American classics to 414.

Even Echo, a Kentucky-bred son of Street Hero owned and trained by Myung Kwon Cho, has been added to the roster of early nominations that was announced on Saturday, Feb. 7. The addition of Even Echo raised the number of early Triple Crown nominees produced in Kentucky to 303.

Also, trainer Todd Pletcher’s record total of early nominees has been reduced by one with a change of trainer for Rosedown Racing’s Bashart. The son of War Front, winner of the With Anticipation (Grade II) at Saratoga, is now trained by Christophe Clement.

The change dropped Pletcher’s individual total of nominees to 41 – still far above the previous record of 32 he established in 2012. The addition of Bashart raised Clement’s total of Triple Crown-eligible trainees to two.

Nominations to the 2014 Triple Crown opened Jan. 2 and closed on Jan. 25, and required payment of a $600 fee for each nominated horse. The 2014 late nomination period, which requires a payment $6,000 for each nominated 3-year-old, opened Sunday, Jan. 26 and continues through Saturday, March 22.

The 2014 Triple Crown series opens on Saturday, May 3 with the 140th running of the 1 ¼-mile Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. The 139th Preakness, 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 Belmont Stakes, its 1 ½-mile final leg, is scheduled for Saturday, June 7 at Belmont Park, in Elmont, N.Y.

Information on the Triple Crown nomination process and nominations forms are available online at www.TheTripleCrown.com

Record Pletcher Army, Unbeaten Champ Shared Belief Top 413 Early Nominations to 2014 Kentucky Derby, Triple Crown

A record-shattering army of 42 talented and promising young stars from the stable of six-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher and 2-year-old stars of 2013 headed by unbeaten champion Shared Belief and stakes winners Honor Code and Cairo Prince top a roster of 413 3-year-old Thoroughbreds – an 11.9% increase from last year – that are early nominees to compete in the 2014 Triple Crown, the coveted series of American classic races that includes the $2 million-guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I), the $1.5 million-guaranteed Preakness (GI) and the $1.5 million-guaranteed Belmont Stakes (GI).

The 413 total is the highest since 2009, when 401 horses were made eligible for the three-race series during the early nomination phase. Eleven horses were nominated during the late phase that year to bring the overall total to 412.

The 2013 Triple Crown series attracted 369 early nominations. Thirteen horses were added during the late nomination phase, which brought total Triple Crown nominations for 2013 to 382.

Nominations to the 2014 Triple Crown opened Jan. 2 and closed on Jan. 25, and required payment of a $600 fee for each nominated horse. The 2014 late nomination period, which requires a payment $6,000 for each nominated 3-year-old, opened Sunday, Jan. 26 and continues through Saturday, March 22.

The 2014 Triple Crown series opens on Saturday, May 3 with the 140th running of the 1 ¼-mile Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. The 139th Preakness, 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 Belmont Stakes, its 1 ½-mile final leg, is scheduled for Saturday, June 7 at Belmont Park, in Elmont, N.Y.

The number of horses made eligible for the Triple Crown by Pletcher, who has three Triple Crown victories to his credit, comprises 10.2% of the overall early nomination total. It is easily the highest total for an individual trainer since host tracks Churchill Downs, Pimlico Race Course and Belmont Park adopted a joint nominating process in 1986. Pletcher set the previous record for nominations by a trainer when he made 32 horses Triple Crown-eligible in 2012.

Most prominent among the Pletcher nominees are Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith’s Havana, a gray/roan son of Dunkirk who won the Champagne (GI) at Belmont Park and experienced his only setback in three races in a runner-up finish to the now-retired New Year’s Day in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) at Santa Anita; Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s We Miss Artie, winner of the Breeders’ Futurity (GI) at Keeneland; and a collection of promising recent winners that includes WinStar Farm’s Commissioner, WinStar Farm and Twin Creeks Racing’s Constitution, Alto Racing’s Anchor Down, Let’s Go Stable’s Harpoon, Stonestreet Stable’s Hartford and Magnier, Tabor and Smith’s Matterhorn.

Pletcher also nominated a pair of stakes-winning fillies to the Triple Crown in Repole Stable’s Stopchargingmaria, winner of Aqueduct’s Demoiselle (GII), and Glencrest Farm’s unbeaten Onlyforyou, who took Gulfstream Park’s Forward Gal (GII) on Jan. 25.

Outside of the swarm of Pletcher trainees, the early nominations to the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes are highlighted by the presence of Jungle Racing LLC, KMN Racing LLC, Jerry Hollendorfer, Jason Litt, Alex Solis II and George Todaro’s unbeaten Shared Belief, the Hollendorfer-trained Eclipse Award champion 2-year-old of 2013 and winner of the CashCall Futurity (GI); Harvey Clark, Craig Robertson, Paul Braverman III and Namcook Stable’s Cairo Prince, a dazzling winner of the Grade II Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park in his first start of 2014 for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin; Lane’s End Racing and Dell Ridge Farm LLC’s Honor Code, winner of the Remsen (GII) at Aqueduct; and William S. Farish and E. J. Hudson Jr.’s Top Billing, a son of 2007 Preakness winner and two-time Horse of the Year Curlin and an impressive winner of a Jan. 25 allowance race at Gulfstream Park. Honor Code and Top Billing are trained by Hall of Famer Shug McCaughey, who earned his first Kentucky Derby victory in 2013 with Phipps Stable and Stuart Janney III’s homebred Orb and won the 1989 Belmont Stakes with Ogden PhippsEasy Goer.

Other current stars of the 3-year-old crop nominated to this spring’s Triple Crown include Robert Baker and William Mack’s Strong Mandate, winner of the Hopeful (GI) at Saratoga for 78-year-old Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, whose victory in the 2013 Preakness with Calumet Farm’s Oxbow was his record 14th triumph in a Triple Crown contest; Bond Holder, winner of the Front Runner (GI) at Santa Anita for Reddam Racing LLC and Doug O’Neill, the owner and trainer team who won the 2012 Kentucky Derby and Preakness with I’ll Have Another; Mr. and Mrs. Larry WilliamsTamarando, the Hollendorfer-trained winner of the Del Mar Futurity (GI); Ron Winchell’s Tapiture, winner of the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (GII) for trainer Steve Asmussen; Conquest Stable LLC’s Holy Bull runner-up Conquest Titan; Treadway Racing Stable’s Noble Moon, winner of the recent Jerome (GII) at Aqueduct; Team D’s In Trouble, winner of the Belmont Futurity (GII); and a trio of stakes winners owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, who recently earned Eclipse Awards that honor the Nicholasville, Ky. couple as America’s top owners and breeders of 2013. Those stars – who are among eight Ramsey-owned nominees – are the Chad Brown-trained Bobby’s Kitten, third to Outstrip in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (GI) at Santa Anita and winner of the Pilgrim (GIII) over the Belmont Park grass; Vicar’s in Trouble, winner of the  Lecomte (GIII) at Fair Grounds for trainer Mike Maker; and We Miss Artie, the Pletcher-trained winner of the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (GI) over the synthetic Polytrack surface at Keeneland Race Course.

Along with the pair of stakes-winning fillies nominated by Pletcher, the roster of Triple Crown nominees includes 12 other females. Most prominent among that group are Christopher Dunn and Loooch Racing’s Ria Antonia, winner by disqualification of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI) at Santa Anita for trainer Jeremiah Englehart; Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings’ unbeaten Streaming, the Bob Baffert-trained winner of the Hollywood Starlet (GI); and Charles Fipke’s Unbridled Forever, winner of the Silverbulletday at Fair Grounds for trainer Dallas Stewart, who saddled Fipke’s Golden Soul to a runner-up finish to Orb in the 2013 Kentucky Derby. The most recent females to win the respective Triple Crown races were Winning Colors (1988 Kentucky Derby), Rachel Alexandra (2009 Preakness) and Rags to Riches (2007 Belmont Stakes).

As usual, the American Triple Crown series attracted nominations for horses based beyond U.S. borders, headed by four from the barn of Irish training champion Aidan O’Brien. His group, all owned by Magnier, Tabor and Smith, includes Giovanni Boldini, who already has experience on American shores after finishing as the close runner-up to Outstrip in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf; Oklahoma City, a British-bred son of Oasis Dream who finished second in Newmarket’s Autumn Stakes (GIII) behind Kingston Hill, who won the Racing Post Trophy (GI) in his next start; and Michaelmas, a son of Elusive Quality and a $525,000 weanling purchase at the 2011 Keeneland November Sale  who was runner-up in last fall’s Killavullan (GIII) at Ireland’s Leopardstown.

Of the 399 male nominees to the 2014 classics, 359 are colts, 30 are geldings and 10 are listed as ridglings.

While Pletcher was the runaway leader in Triple Crown nominations by a single trainer, he was followed in that category by Bob Baffert (18 nominations), Steve Asmussen (13) and Lukas (12). Pletcher’s Palace Malice won last year’s Belmont Stakes to raise his Triple Crown win total to three following wins by Super Saver in the 2010 Kentucky Derby and the filly Rags to Riches in the 2007 Belmont.

Leading owners, either alone or in partnership, were Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor, who shared ownership of 13 nominees. Their regular partner Derrick Smith owns 12 of the nominated horses, and was followed by Stonestreet Stables LLC with nine nominees.

WinStar Farm LLC, owner of 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver and Belmont Stakes winner Drosselmeyer, led all breeders with nine nominees, either alone or in partnerships. The Estate of Edward Evans was next with eight, followed by Darley’s seven nominees and six each for Brereton C. Jones and Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC.

Of the 413 nominated 3-year-olds, 388 were bred in the United States and Kentucky was the state of breeding for 302 of those horses. Florida produced 29 nominees, and was followed by Virginia (13), New York (12) and Pennsylvania (10). Canada produced 12 of the 15 horses bred in international locals. Nine were bred in Ireland.

Bernardini, winner of the 2006 Preakness, and Tapit each sired 16 nominees to rank as leading sires among early Triple Crown nominees. Distorted Humor, Giant’s Causeway and Unbridled’s Song tied at 10.

The purses for the 2014 renewals of the Preakness and Belmont Stakes will be the richest in history. 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. (Eastern) on Friday, May 2, also-eligible horse 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 allows a maximum of 16 horses.

Three-year-olds that are not nominated for the Triple Crown during its early or late nomination phases have a final opportunity to become eligible to compete in one or all of the 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 those 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 original 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.

A sweep of the three Triple Crown races – one of the most difficult feats in all of sports – has been accomplished on only 11 occasions.  The roster of Triple Crown winners includes 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) and Affirmed (1978).

The 36-year gap since the most recent Triple Crown sweep by Affirmed in 1978 is the longest in the history of the series. The previous record was the 25-year span between the 1948 Triple Crown earned by Citation and Secretariat’s record-shattering three-race sweep in 1973.

The Triple Crown races produced three separate winners in 2013. Phipps Stable and Stuart Janney III’s Orb won the Kentucky Derby, Calumet Farm’s Oxbow earned the victory in the Preakness and Dogwood Stable’s Palace Malice took the Belmont Stakes.

A total of 51 3-year-olds have won two of the Triple Crown’s three races. Reddam Racing’s I’ll Have Another became the most recent to do so when he won the 2012 Kentucky Derby and Preakness, but did not compete in the Belmont Stakes.

 Click here for a complete list of the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown nominations.

Triple Crown, Kentucky Derby Nomination Process Open; 'Early' Deadline is Jan. 25

Early nominations are now being accepted from owners and trainers of 3-year-old Thoroughbreds who hope their young horses have the talent to the compete in the 2014 Triple Crown, the coveted series of American classic races that includes the $2 million-guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I), the $1.5 million-guaranteed Preakness (GI) and the $1.5 million-guaranteed Belmont Stakes (GI).

Early Triple Crown nominations opened Jan. 2 and the deadline for acceptance of early nominees is Saturday, Jan. 25 at 11:59 p.m. (all times Eastern). The nomination of each horse must be accompanied by a fee of $600 to make that individual eligible to compete in the three-race series. 

A late nomination period, which requires the payment of a $6,000 for each nominated 3-year-old, will open at 12 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 26 and runs through Saturday, March 22.

The 2013 Triple Crown series opens on Saturday, May 3 with the 140th running of the 1 ¼-mile Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. The 139th Preakness, 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 Belmont Stakes, its 1 ½-mile final leg, is scheduled for Saturday, June 7 at Belmont Park, in Elmont, N.Y.

The purses for the 2014 renewals of the Preakness and Belmont Stakes will be the richest in history.  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 $2 million level in 2005.

All Triple Crown nominations made by traditional mail during the early phase must be postmarked by the Jan. 25 closing date. Nominations also can be made online at www.TheTripleCrown.com, or via telephone with a designated representative from one of the three Triple Crown host tracks. Online and telephone nominations must be made prior to the 11:59 p.m. deadline on Jan. 25.

The 2013 Triple Crown series attracted 369 early nominations. Thirteen horses were added during the late nomination phase, which brought total Triple Crown nominations for 2013 to 382.

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. (Eastern) on Friday, May 2, also-eligible horse 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 field for the Preakness is limited to 14 starters, while the Belmont Stakes permits a maximum field of 16 horses.

Three-year-olds that were not nominated for the Triple Crown series during either the early or late nomination phases have a final opportunity to become eligible for the 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 has adjusted its process, and supplemental nominations made prior to the Kentucky Derby will now be treated the same as original nominees. If one or more supplemental nominees possess sufficient points to qualify for the Derby field, they would be allowed to start over original nominees with lesser qualifications. Under its previous policy, Churchill Downs gave preference to original nominees to the Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown over supplemental nominees.

A sweep of the three Triple Crown races – one of the most difficult feats in all of sports – has been accomplished on only 11 occasions.  The roster of Triple Crown winners includes 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) and Affirmed (1978).

The 36-year gap since the most recent Triple Crown sweep by Affirmed in 1978 is the longest in the history of the series. The previous record was the 25-year span between the 1948 Triple Crown earned by Citation and Secretariat’s record-shattering three-race sweep in 1973.

The Triple Crown races produced three separate winners in 2013. Phipps Stable and Stuart Janney III’s Orb won the Kentucky Derby, Calumet Farm’s Oxbow earned the victory in the Preakness and Dogwood Stable’s Palace Malice took the Belmont Stakes.

A total of 51 3-year-olds have won two of the Triple Crown’s three races. Reddam Racing’s I’ll Have Another became the most recent to do so when he won the 2012 Kentucky Derby and Preakness, but did not compete in the Belmont Stakes.

Representatives of the Triple Crown host tracks include:

  • Churchill Downs: Racing Secretary Ben Huffman at (502) 638-3820 or Ben.Huffman@KyDerby.comKelly Danner at (502) 638-3825 or Kelly.Danner@KyDerby.comFax: (502) 638-3915;
  • Pimlico: Director of Racing/Racing Secretary Georganne Hale at (800) 638-1859 or ghale@marylandracing.com  … Stakes Coordinator Coleman Blind at same number or cblind@marylandracing;
  • Belmont Park: Senior Vice President of Racing Operations Martin Panza at (718) 659-4241 or mpanza@nyrainc.com … Stakes Coordinator Andrew Byrnes at same number or abyrnes@nyrainc.com …   Fax: (718) 659-3581.

Representatives seeking nominations at various U.S. tracks prior to Jan. 25 include Churchill Downs’ Huffman and Dan Bork and Pimlico’s Blind at Gulfstream Park; Byrnes at Aqueduct; NYRA’s Panza and Santa Anita Racing Secretary Rick Hammerle at Santa Anita; Sandy Montgomery at Oaklawn Park; Director of Racing and Racing Secretary Alison DeLuca at Tampa Bay Downs; Racing Secretary Jason Boulet at Fair Grounds and Assistant Racing Secretary Tia Murphy at Turfway Park.

Citizen Cope, Derby Winner's Poster, Preakness,Family Fun Days Top Churchill Downs Weekend

Churchill Downs joins racing fans in celebrating the bid by I’ll Have Another, winner of the 138th Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands, bid to win the Preakness Stakes with an action-packed weekend of excitement headed by Saturday’s simulcast of the second jewel of the Triple Crown and a giveaway of a commemorative print of the Derby 138 winner Presented by GE.

The colorful 18” x 24” print contains an inside-rail view of I’ll Have Another and jockey Mario Gutierrez as they crossed the finish line in their historic victory in America’s greatest races on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs.  The image of I’ll Have Another is against a backdrop of Kentucky Derby icons that include the Twin Spires, the Derby Winner’s Circle; the solid gold winner’s trophy, and a Derby rose.

The first 5,000 fans through the admission gates on Saturday, May 19 will receive a voucher that entitles them to one Derby winner print. The vouchers can be exchanged for the Kentucky Derby commemorative print following Saturday’s fourth race at a redemption center located on the first floor of the Clubhouse at the Skye Terrace elevators, near the Longfield Ave./Gate 10 entrance.

Saturday’s Churchill Downs racing program, which includes 11 live races and the simulcast of the Preakness, has a post time of 12:45 p.m. (all times Eastern).  Post time for the simulcast of the 137th running of the Preakness from Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course is scheduled for 6:18 p.m.

Preakness Weekend at Churchill Downs kicks off with Friday’s Twilight Racing program that concludes with a performance by Citizen Cope in the second installment of the 2012 Paddock Concert Series.  Citizen Cope is scheduled to take to the Paddock Stage with his unique blend of hip-hop, rock, blues and soul.  He has released four critically acclaimed albums and a new collection, “One Lovely Day,” is set for release in July.  The Memphis, Tenn. native launched his career in Washington, DC, where the Washington Post praised him as the city’s “most soulful export since Marvin Gaye.”

The first 850 people in attendance for the Citizen Cope (www.CitizenCope.com) concert will be allowed free access to the paddock to watch the concert up close in a VIP viewing area.  Outside of the paddock there is ample space to enjoy the concert from the Paddock Garden and balcony areas.

Admission to the Paddock Concert Series performance by Citizen Cope is free with the $3 general admission to Churchill Downs before 7 p.m.  Admission to the concert is $10 after 7 p.m and gates 10 and 17 will be open for late admissions.

Admission gates will open for Friday’s Twilight Racing program at 1:30 p.m. and post time for the first race will be 2:45 p.m. Happy Hour drink specials in the paddock garden area include a $3 Stella Artois Draft Beer (16 oz.) from 4-7 p.m.

The Churchill Downs racing program on Sunday, May 20 will be accompanied Family Fun Days activities Presented by Kroger.  Family Fun Days promise a very special day for the entire family, with attractions that include HorseRacing Bingo, Junior Jockey Club activities; story time; a walking tour of the Kentucky Derby Museum to visit with Winston, its resident miniature horse; visits with Churchill Charlie and more.  More information is available at www.ChurchillDowns.com.

Family Fun Days activities are scheduled from 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. in the Paddock Pavilion on Sundays throughout the meet.

Post time for Sunday racing at Churchill Downs is 12:45 p.m.  Admission gates open at 11:30 a.m.

Seating for Preakness Weekend events and tickets for Churchill Downs racing and special events throughout the Spring Meet can be purchased through the track’s online box office at www.ChurchillDowns.com/tickets or by calling (502) 636-4400.  Tickets can also be purchased at Churchill Downs’ on-track box office, located at Gate 1 off Central Avenue. The on-track box office is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with the exception of Friday hours of noon to 6 p.m.  The box office will be open on “Downs After Dark” night racing Saturdays on June 2, 16 and 30 from noon to 9 p.m. 

Addition of Cyber Secret Lifts Triple Crown Nominee Total to 398

The roster of 3-year-old Thoroughbreds nominated to compete in the classic races of the American Triple Crown has grown by one with the addition of Charles J Cella’s Cyber Secret, who was omitted from the initial roster of 397 early nominations because of a clerical error.

This year’s 398th nominee is a Kentucky-bred son of Broken Vow trained by Lynn Whiting, who scored his only victory in a Triple Crown race with W.C. Partee’s Lil E. Tee in the 1992 Kentucky Derby (Grade I).  Cyber Secret collected his second win in four career starts in a 5 ¼-length victory in a 1 1/16-mile allowance race at Oaklawn Park on Feb. 4.  He started his career with trainer Chad Brown, but was transferred to Whiting when the colt was purchased privately by Cella after a seventh-place run behind WinStar Farm’s unbeaten Triple Crown nominee Gemologist in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (GII) on Nov. 28 at Churchill Downs.

Officials at Churchill Downs said information on Cyber Secret was not added to the list of early nominees after a Triple Crown representative took the nomination at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark. prior to the close of the early nominations for the three-race series.  Stewards at the Louisville track approved the addition of the colt’s name to the list of early nominees, which was released to the public on Saturday, Feb. 4.

This year’s early nomination period, during which each nomination was accompanied by a $600 fee, closed on Saturday, Jan. 21. A late period for nominations – which requires each nomination to be accompanied by a $6,000 fee – will conclude on Saturday, March 24.

The 2012 Triple Crown series begins on Saturday, May 5 with the $2 million-guaranteed 138th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.  The second jewel of the Triple Crown is the 137th running of the $1 million Preakness Stakes (GI), which will be run on Saturday, May 19, at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md.  The American classic series concludes with the 144th running of the Belmont Stakes (GI) on Saturday, June 9 at New York’s Belmont Park.

All three Triple Crown races will be televised by NBC Sports and are scheduled to be broadcast on radio by the Horse Racing Radio Network (HRRN).

The new early nomination total for the 2012 Triple Crown races is a 9.3 percent increase over the 364 early nominees for the three-race classic series a year ago.  The roster of 2012 early Triple Crown nominees is the largest since 2009, when 412 3-year-olds were made eligible during the early period.

Brisnet is providing free online past performances of all the 2012 Triple Crown nominees in PDF format at http://www.brisnet.com/brisnet_promos/TC12noms.pdf.