Godolphin's Thunder Snow (Ire), winner of the UAE 2000 Guineas (Group 3) at Dubai's Meydan Racecourse on Feb. 11 and last fall's Criterium International (G1) at France's Saint-Cloud, heads a group of six 3-year-old Thoroughbreds made eligible to compete in the races of the 2017 Triple Crown during the series' late nomination phase that closed on Monday, March 20.
The late nominees raised total nominations to 425 – pending late mail – for the series of American classic races for 3-year-olds that includes the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) at Churchill Downs, the $1.5 million Preakness Stakes (GI) at Pimlico Race Course (GI) and the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (GI) at Belmont Park.
Late nominations to the Triple Crown required a payment of $6,000 for each nominated 3-year-old. The early nomination period, during which 419 horses were made eligible for the three-race series, closed Jan. 14 and required payment of $600.
The Saeed bin Suroor-trained Thunder Snow is the most accomplished of the late Triple Crown nominees. His stakes triumphs – a 5 ¾-length victory in his dirt debut in the UAE 2000 Guineas and a five-length victory over soft turf at Saint-Cloud – have come in his past two starts. The son of the Australian sire Helmet has a career record of 3-2-0 in seven races with earnings of $427,692. Thunder Snow is scheduled to face 15 rivals in Saturday's $2 million UAE Derby (G2) at Meydan.
The other late nominees to the Triple Crown are:
· Mark Stanley's Hollywood Handsome, a son of Tapizar with one win in six career races for trainer Dallas Stewart;
· Manning Kingdom Stable's new acquisition More Than Words, a Kentucky-bred son of More Than Ready that raced as a juvenile in Peru and is now at Keeneland with trainer Charlie LoPresti.
· Brad Anderson's Parlor, a winner of two of three races – all on turf – for trainer Eddie Kenneally. His lone setback was a close runner-up finish in the Kentucky Juvenile in September at Kentucky Downs. Parlor is scheduled to compete in Saturday's $500,000 Spiral Stakes (GIII) at Turfway Park.
· Greco Racing Stable and Michael Cloonan's Rapid Dial, an Ingrid Mason-trained son of Dialed In that scored an easy victory in his lone start at Oaklawn Park on March 11;
· Roddy Valente's homebred Stretch's Stone, a New York-bred son of Bustin Stones that has collected victories for trainer Bruce Levine in two of his three career starts.
The 2017 Triple Crown series opens on Saturday, May 6 with the 143rd running of the 1 ¼-mile Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. The 142nd Preakness, the 1 3/16-mile second jewel, is set for Saturday, May 20 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md. The 149th running of the Belmont Stakes, its 1 ½-mile final leg, is scheduled for Saturday, June 10 at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.
Three-year-olds that were not nominated to the Triple Crown during either the early or late nomination phases have a final opportunity to become eligible for the races through payment of a supplemental nomination fee. Due at the time of entry for either the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness or the Belmont Stakes, the supplemental fee process makes a horse eligible for the remainder of the Triple Crown series. A supplemental nomination at the time of entry to the Kentucky Derby requires payment of $200,000. The fee is $150,000 if paid prior to the Preakness or $75,000 at time of entry to the Belmont Stakes.
Supplemental nominees for the Kentucky Derby are treated the same as original nominees. If one or more supplemental nominees possess sufficient “Road to the Kentucky Derby” points to qualify for the Derby field, they will be allowed to start over original nominees that possess lesser qualifications.
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