Record 450 Early Triple Crown Nominations

Record 450 Early Triple Crown Nominations
Photo: Alexander Barkoff
BC Juvenile winner Street Sense among 450 Crown nominees.
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Edited release from Triple Crown Productions

With 2006 Eclipse Award and Breeders’ Cup winners Street Sense and Dreaming of Anna headlining the list, a record 450 horses have been nominated early to Thoroughbred racing’s 2007 Triple Crown.

The three grade I race series for 3-year-olds gets started with the 133rd running of the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands on May 5 at Churchill Downs. That will be followed by the 132nd Preakness Stakes at 1 3/16 miles over the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md., on May 19 and the 139th Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in New York at a distance of 1 1/2 miles on June 9.

The 450 nominations, at $600 each, top the previous record of 446 posted in 2003. The early nomination period ended Jan. 21. A late-nominating period, when each nomination costs $6,000, closes on March 31.

Street Sense, owned by James Tafel and trained by 1990 Kentucky Derby-winning Carl Nafzger, heads a list of 445 males seeking Triple Crown glory and Dreaming of Anna is one of five fillies nominated. All but two of the finishers of the Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) were nominated. Only Malt Magic and Principle Secret did not make the list. Dreaming of Anna, owned and bred by Frank C. Calabrese and trained by Wayne M. Catalano is the only Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) graduate to be nominated.

Those males joining Street Sense from the 2006 Juvenile, according to their finish: Circular Quay, Great Hunter, Scat Daddy, Stormello, C P West, U D Ghetto, King of the Roxy, Skip Code, Teuflesberg, Pegasus Wind and Got the Last Laugh.

The challenge of sweeping the three-race series has not been met since Affirmed turned the trick in 1978. Victory in the Belmont Stakes was the culmination of an historic and thrilling battle between Affirmed and Alydar, who finished second in each of the races.

"We are highly impressed at the remarkable response we have received once again for racing’s Triple Crown," said Edward P. Seigenfeld, executive vice president of Triple Crown Productions in Louisville, Ky. "Each year we are hopeful of widespread participation and we continue to be rewarded with an amazing amount of enthusiasm from horsemen the world over. Our Triple Crown racetracks are immensely grateful for the participation in this greatest of all athletic tests. As the Road to the Triple Crown unfolds, we wish the best of luck and safe racing to all those connected to these wonderful 3-year-old equine athletes."

Twenty-seven nominees came from across the Atlantic, with champion Irish trainer Aidan P. O’Brien leading the list of nominations with nine, followed by countryman Dermot Weld’s seven. Weld trained 1990 Belmont Stakes winner Go and Go. The 27 nominees from Europe and the United Arab Emirates is significantly greater than 2006’s 15.

On this year’s list of owners are such regulars as owners Michael Tabor, B. Wayne Hughes, Mrs. John Magnier, Juddmonte Farms, Overbrook Farm and Robert and Beverly Lewis Trust. But atop the list with 16 nominations is newcomer to the elite group, Zayat Stable. Mrs. Magnier, who is a frequent partner with Tabor and Derrick Smith, stands second on the list with 12 nominations, both individually and as a partner. Tabor is next with nine and heading the list of those with six is another newcomer, Chelston Ireland.

Hughes has nominated six to the Triple Crown, while the Robert and Beverly Lewis Trust and Juddmonte Farms have named five, and Overbrook checked in with four. The Lewises and Overbrook Farm have been the most prominent winners of Triple Crown races since 1994, with both chalking up five victories. Overbrook won the 1996 Derby with Grindstone and the Lewises won the 1997 and 1999 Derbys and Preakness Stakes with Silver Charm and Charismatic, respectively. 

Topping the leading-trainer list is Anthony J. Sciametta Jr., an assistant trainer to Todd Pletcher, who has led nominators for the past three years but has been serving a 45-day suspension. Sciametta is credited with 26 nominations, while another Pletcher deputy, Michael McCarthy, who heads a string in Southern California, has six nominated, including Juvenile runner-up Circular Quay. It’s expected those horses will return to Pletcher’s guardianship when the suspension ends.

Following Sciametta on the list is Nicholas P. Zito with 18. He is followed by Bob Baffert with 17, D. Wayne Lukas and Steven Asmussen with 13 each and Richard Mandella with 11. The triumvirate of Zito, Baffert and Lukas has accounted for 25 victories in Triple Crown races since 1980. Lukas has 13, including four Kentucky Derby; Baffert has eight, including three Derbys, and Zito has four, including two Derbys.

After falling out of the top spot among sires last year after heading the list for three previous years, A.P. Indyrebounded to share the top spot this year with 12 nominees. Fusaichi Pegasus  , 2000 Derby champion, shares the spotlight with the 1992 Belmont Stakes winner and Horse of the Year.

Perennial leading sire Storm Catis a close second with 11, followed by the popular young stallion Tiznow   with 10. A couple of other youngsters in the breeding shed, Giant’s Causeway and Officer shared the next spot – at nine – with well-established sire Unbridled’s Song. Filling out the top ten are Distorted Humor  , Dynaformer, E Dubai  and El Corredor  , with eight each.

--Sortable List of 2007 Triple Crown Nominations

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