The road to the 2005 VISA Triple Crown is officially open as nomination forms have been mailed to horsemen. Representatives of Triple Crown Productions will begin gathering nomination forms at racetracks across the country beginning the week of Jan. 10.
Deadline for early nominations ($600 each) is Jan. 22. Late nomination deadline is March 26 ($6,000 each).
The Triple Crown kicks off with the 131st running of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) May 7 at Churchill Downs. The Derby purse was increased to $2-million. The Preakness Stakes (gr. I) at Pimlico Race Course is May 21, with the Test of Champions, the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park running on June 11.
A record 446 nominations was established in the 2003 early nomination period and an overall record of 454 was set as a result of late sign-ups. Last year, 434 early nominations were made, and 14 came late for a total of 448.