Sheikh Mohammed has made no secret of his desire to win the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). His Godolphin Racing has nominated 17 horses to the Visa Triple Crown by the early deadline, nearly twice as many as any other owner. Included is Dubai Tiger, the colt named for golfer Tiger Woods, and Tempera, winner of last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I).
The early nomination period closed Jan. 19 with 405 nominations. The cost to nominate a 3-year-old before the Jan. 19 early deadline was $600 per horse. Late nominees, by March 30, pay $6,000. The number of nominated horses is down from the record 439 of a year ago.
The Derby will be run at Churchill Downs May 4, the Preakness at Pimlico on May 18, and the Belmont at Belmont Park on June 8. VISA will pay a $5 million bonus to a horse that sweeps all three races. No horse has won the Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978.
Johannesburg, winner of the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), and the first two nominees bred in Japan, are among 34 based overseas. There were 382 colts, nine geldings, and 14 fillies among the nominees.
Among trainers, D. Wayne Lukas and Todd Pletcher both nominated 19 horses. Lukas has won the Derby four times. Pletcher had his best finish last year when Invisible Ink ran second. Saaed bin Suroor, who conditions the Godolphin horses, was next with its 17, and Elliott Walden trains 16. Bob Baffert and Nick Zito, who have each won the Derby twice, were next with 14 and 13, respectively.
Johannesburg was not the only horses trained in Ireland by Aiden O'Brien to be nominated--there were nine others.
The leading sire of nominated horses is Storm Cat with 12.2002 Visa Triple Crown Nominations, Complete Lists With Breeding, Owner, Breeder, Trainer