Owners and trainers of 3-year-old Thoroughbreds that have aspirations of participating in the 2013 Triple Crown races have only a few days remaining to make their horses eligible during the early nomination period.
The deadline for early Triple Crown nominations is Jan. 26 at 11:59 p.m. (all times Eastern). Each nomination must be accompanied by a fee of $600.
A late nomination period, which requires the payment of a $6,000 with each nominated 3-year-old, will open at midnight Jan. 27 and will run through March 23.
The 2013 Triple Crown series opens May 4 with the 139th running of the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) at Churchill Downs. The 138th Preakness Stakes (gr. I), the 1 3/16-mile second jewel, is set for May 18 at Pimlico Race Course. The 145th running of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), the 1 1/2-mile final leg, is scheduled for June 8 at Belmont Park.
All nominations made by traditional mail during the early nomination phase must be postmarked by the Jan. 26 closing date. Triple Crown 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 deadline Jan. 26.
Horses that are not nominated to the Triple Crown in either the early or late phases have a final opportunity to become eligible for the races through payment of a supplemental nomination. That fee, paid at the time of entry for the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, or Belmont Stakes, makes a horse eligible for the remainder of the Triple Crown series. A supplemental nomination made at the time of entry to the Kentucky Derby requires a fee of $200,000. The supplemental fee is $100,000 to both the Preakness and the 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 this year's running will be determined for the first time by points earned in the new "Road to the Kentucky Derby" eligibility system. The field for the Preakness is limited to 14 starters, while the Belmont Stakes permits a maximum field of 16 horses.
It has been 34 years since the most recent Triple Crown sweep by Affirmed in 1978, the longest stretch without a Triple Crown in the history of the series. The previous record was the 25-year gap between the 1948 Triple Crown earned by Citation and Secretariat's record-shattering three-race sweep in 1973.
Reddam Racing's I'll Have Another became the 51st horse to take two of the three Triple Crown races with triumphs in the 2012 renewals of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. But the Doug O'Neill-trained colt was denied his Triple Crown bid when he was withdrawn from consideration for the Belmont Stakes after he was injured in the days before that contest.