Pletcher Tops Trainers With 54 Of 346 Triple Crown Nominees

Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher led all trainers with 54 horses nominated for the Triple Crown, 15.6% of the total number of 346 early nominations, it was announced Tuesday.

Mike Repole, who led all owners with 20 early nominations, owns Fierceness.

The Triple Crown races begin with the $5 million Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs on May 4, followed by the Preakness (G1) at Pimlico Race Course on May 18, and the Belmont Stakes (G1) at Saratoga Race Course on June 8.

A New Twist in Tradition: The Belmont Takes on Saratoga

The Belmont is being run at Saratoga rather than Belmont Park due to construction at the home of the Belmont. The race will be run at 1 ¼ miles rather than the usual 1 ½ miles because of the configuration of the track at Saratoga.

Saratoga – Photo Courtesy of NYRA

The early nomination fee is $600; the deadline was Jan. 29. The late nomination fee is $6,000 and the deadline is April 1.

The total of 346 3-year-olds is down from last year’s 369. Of the international nominations, 47 are from Japan, 10 more than last year.

Racing Royalty: Baffert and Cox’s Prominent Presence in Early Nominations

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert and Brad Cox followed Pletcher, each with 18 early nominations.

Baffert’s nominees, including Nysos and Muth, are ineligible for the Derby since he’s still suspended by Churchill Downs. His 3-year-olds are eligible for the Preakness and Belmont.

The last two of 13 Triple Crown winners were trained by Baffert, American Pharoah in 2015 and Justify in 2018.

A total of 44 stakes winners were nominated, including Catching Freedom (Smarty Jones), Hades (Holy Bull); Honor Marie (Kentucky Jockey Club); Locked (Breeders’ Futurity); Mystik Dan (Southwest); Nysos (Robert B. Lewis); Track Phantom (Lecomte), and Uncle Heavy (Withers).

Four 3-year-old fillies were nominated: Candied, Gun Song, Life Talk and Kopion.

To see the full list of nominations, click here: NOMS 20240206 Early TC

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