Game Winner plus another 361 three-year-old thoroughbreds were made eligible to compete in this year’s Triple Crown races during the early nomination phase, which closed on January 26. Four fillies were nominated, including champion 2-year-old filly and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Jaywalk and multiple Grade I winner Bellafina. Also nominated were Improbable, Knicks Go, Mind Control, Royal Marine, and Royal Meeting.
The nominees also included 20 horses training outside of North America. Irish-based trainer Aidan O’Brien and owners associated with Coolmore nominated seven, including graded stakes-winners Sergei Prokofiev and Van Beethoven.
Notable horses currently not nominated to 2019 Triple Crown races include, but not limited to, Champagne (GI) winner Complexity and Saratoga Special (GII) and Swale (GIII) stakes winner Call Paul.
Each of the 362 horses were made eligible through a $600 payment to compete in any of the Triple Crown races: the Kentucky Derby on May 4, the Preakness Stakes on May 18 and the million Belmont Stakes on June 8.
Horses not nominated to the Triple Crown races during the early nomination period, which closed on January 26, can be made eligible for a $6,000 nomination fee during the current nomination period, which continues through April 1. Last year 10 additional horses were nominated in this second nomination period.
After April 1st, horses can become eligible through a supplemental nomination fee that is due at the time of entry. The nomination fees are $200,000 for the Kentucky Derby, $150,000 for the Preakness and $50,000 for the Belmont.
Steve Asmussen led all trainers with 27 nominations. Bob Baffert, Chad Brown and Todd Pletcher each had 17 nominees. Calumet Farm led all owners with 13 nominations.
For the third straight year, Tapit was the leading sire with 19 offspring nominated. Second was Into Mischief with 15 and followed by Curlin and Cairo Prince with 13 each.