Nasa rolls in the slop to win the Pennsylvania Nursery. Photo By Bill Denver / EQUI-PHOTO

Nasa, here rolling in the slop to win the Pennsylvania Nursery, is one of 23 Triple Crown nominees bred in the mid-Atlantic. Photo By Bill Denver / EQUI-PHOTO

Twenty-three horses bred in the mid-Atlantic — some of them familiar names to followers of the region’s racing — are among the 429 runners nominated to the Triple Crown to date.  The first round of nominations closed January 17.

Four stakes winners are among the horses bred in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia nominated to the season’s major races for sophomores.  No horses called New Jersey or Delaware their birthplace.

Among the stakes winners:

  • Nasa, the Pennsylvania-bred son of Smarty Jones who won the Pennsylvania Nursery, for PA-breds, before running a good second in the Grade 3 Jerome at Aqueduct.  He was bred by Patricia Chapman, whose Someday Farm also owns him.  He’s trained by John Servis.
  • Two-time stake winner Golden Years, a West Virginia-bred trained by Rodney Jenkins for Hillwood Stable.  Bred by O’Sullivan Farms, the son of Not for Love has won the Maryland Million Nursery and the Marylander, both contested at Laurel Park.
  • Ghost Bay, a Maryland-bred son of Ghostzapper whose maiden-breaking score came in the Maryland Juvenile Futurity, for state-breds.  He is trained by Larry Murray for owner/breeder Howard Bender.
  • Moon River, a Virginia-bred by Bluegrass Cat who was bred and is owned by William Backer.  Moon River debuted in stakes company, taking the Jamestown for Virginia-breds on the lawn.  He also is stakes-placed on the grass, finishing second to the very good Souper Colossal in the Texas Glitter at Gulfstream.

Overall, the list includes eight horses bred in Maryland, seven bred in Pennsylvania, six bred in Virginia, and a pair from West Virginia.

The 23 region-bred runners were bred by 22 different breeders.  The only breeder to double up was George Strawbridge, who bred and owns both Spring Quality and Street Fashion, both Pennsylvania-breds.

Three trainers — Gary Contessa, James Lawrence, and Jonathan Sheppard — had two region-bred nominees each.

The deadline for the next round of Triple Crown nominations is March 23, with a $6,000 fee.