A late nomination deadline of Saturday, March 23 looms for owners and trainers of 3-year-old Thoroughbreds not yet eligible to compete in the 2013 Triple Crown races.
The coveted three-race series of American classics consists of the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands, the $1 million Preakness, and the $1 million Belmont Stakes (all gr. I).
The deadline for late Triple Crown nominations is at 11:59 p.m. EDT. A fee of $6,000 must accompany the nomination form submitted for each horse.
Horses nominated during the late phase will be added to a roster of 369 horses made eligible for the 2013 Triple Crown during an early nomination period that concluded Jan. 26. A nomination fee of $600 was required for each horse to become eligible prior to the early deadline.
The 2013 Triple Crown will get underway May 4 with the 139th running of the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. The Preakness, the 1 3/16-mile second jewel, is set to be run for the 138th time May 18 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md. The 145th running of the Belmont Stakes, the 1 1/2-mile final jewel of the series, is scheduled for June 8 at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.
Horses not nominated to the Triple Crown during either nomination phase will have a final opportunity to become eligible for the series through a supplemental nomination process. Those horses can become eligible for one or all of the Triple Crown races with the payment of a supplemental nomination fee at the time of entry of any of the three races. The supplemental nomination at the time of entry to the Kentucky Derby requires a payment of $200,000. The supplemental fee is $100,000 if paid prior to either the Preakness or Belmont Stakes.
The 2012 Triple Crown series attracted 398 early nominations. Twenty more horses were added during the late nomination phase, which brought total Triple Crown nominations for 2012 to 418. The final total was the largest since a record 460 nominations were received in 2007 and 2008.
The Kentucky Derby field has been limited to 20 starters since 1975 and the horses that enter the starting gate for its 2013 renewal will be determined for the first time by points earned in the new "Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by TwinSpires.com" eligibility system. The field for the Preakness is limited to 14 starters, while Belmont Stakes permits a maximum field of 16 horses.
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).