Although down slightly from last year’s 398 early nominees, 369 three-year-olds took advantage of the early nomination process for this year’s Triple Crown. Only horses made eligible to the Triple Crown can compete in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs May 4, the Preakness Stakes at Pimilico Race Course in Baltimore, MD May 18, or the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in Elmont, NY June 8.
The early nomination period includes a nomination fee of $600 for those registering by the January 26 deadline. Late nominees are accepted now through March 23 and require a $6,000 nomination fee. Most owners are willing to risk the $600 for any promising three-year-old in the barn in the hopes the horse will make it to one of the Triple Crown races.
The Kentucky Derby field is limited to 20 horses, with four also eligibles, who have earned the most points in the new Road to the Kentucky Derby points system. The system rewards points to the top four finishers in selected races from last September through the week prior to the Kentucky Derby.
All the early Kentucky Derby hopefuls that have found themselves on the Road to the Kentucky points board have made the early nomination list, aside from those already off the Derby trail. Some of those nominated include Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner and Two-Year-Old Champion, Shanghai Bobby, Holy Bull winner Itsmyluckyday, Robert B. Lewis winner Flashback, Withers winner Revolutionary, Sam F. Davis winner Falling Sky, and Rick Pitino’s Delta Jackpot winner Goldencents.
As was the case last year, trainer Todd Pletcher, who won his first Kentucky Derby with Super Saver in 2010, leads the nominations among trainers with 29 horses, with Bob Baffert behind him at 23. Louisville-based trainer Dale Romans has only five horses nominated for the Triple Crown, down from 14 last year.
Of the 369 nominated, 325 are colts, 28 are geldings, nine are ridglings, and seven are fillies. 352 are U.S. bred, 263 of those born in Kentucky. Seventeen international-born horses are included in the early nominations.
For a complete list of those nominated, visit the Kentucky Derby website .
Once again, Brisnet  is providing free online past performances for each of this year’s early nominees.