Late Triple Crown nominee Buddy Gil, winning  the San Felipe.

Late Triple Crown nominee Buddy Gil, winning the San Felipe.

Benoit photos

Buddy Gil, N.Y. Hero Among Late Triple Crown Nominees

San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) winner Buddy Gil and Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) winner New York Hero were among eight additional 3-year-olds made eligible for the Visa Triple Crown during the late nomination period that ended Saturday.

A record 454 3-year-olds are now eligible for the Triple Crown. More nominations could show up through mail deliveries in the next few days.

The earlier record of 452 was established in 1986, the first year for the common nomination program established by Triple Crown Productions that allowed horsemen to nominate at one time and for one fee to the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), Preakness Stakes (gr. I) and Belmont Stakes (gr. I).

"We at Triple Crown Productions are extremely excited about these record-breaking numbers," said Tom Meeker, president of Triple Crown Productions as well as president and chief executive officer of Churchill Downs. "It reminds us once again that horsemen around the world remain keenly aware of the importance of the Visa Triple Crown and the $5-million Visa Triple Crown Challenge. We look forward to the coming excitement...and the prospect for the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years."

The new nominees are:
--Buddy Gil, owned by Desperado Stables, Don McFadden, Charlie Johnson, Rogers Seversen and Tom Schriber and trained by Jeff Mullins;

--Defrere's Vixen and Mr. Decatur, both owned by Heiligbrodt Racing Stable and trained by Steven Asmussen;

--During, owned by James McIngvale and trained by Bob Baffert;

--Herculated, owned by Jack E. Hodge Jr. and trained by Michael Stidham;

--New York Hero, owned by Paraneck Stable and trained by Jennifer Pedersen;

--Mr. Amano, owned by Gianca Stable and trained by John Hertler;

--Fund of Funds, owned by Klaravich Stable and trained by Rick

Early nominations for this year's Visa Triple Crown and $5-million Visa Triple Crown Challenge had set a record of 446 for early birds when that nomination period closed Jan. 25. The fee for early nominations was $600. The fee to nominate late was $6,000. The previous record for the early period was 440, set in 2001.