Sixteen horses bred in the mid-Atlantic region are among the 368 early nominees to the Triple Crown series announced yesterday.
The national total of 368 nominees is a decline of 61 horses from last year’s 429 and is the smallest pool of early nominees since 2011. The early nomination period, which closed January 16, required nominators to put up a $600 fee. A late nomination period now underway extends to March 21 and requires a $6,000 fee.
The group of Midlantic-bred nominees includes seven horses bred in Pennsylvania, five bred in Maryland, three bred in Virginia, and one New Jersey-bred. It also includes some intriguing hopefuls.
Perhaps foremost among them is the Pennsylvania-bred Mor Spirit. The son of Eskendereya has won two of four career starts and most recently won the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Futurity in December. He also was second in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club over the Churchill Downs strip. Bred by the Elkstone Group LLC, Mor Spirit is trained by Bob Baffert for Michael Lund Petersen, who paid $650,000 at auction for him.
Another Pennsylvania-bred, Tom’s Ready, has a somewhat more mixed resume but one that nevertheless offers promise. The son of More Than Ready, who was a distant eighth in the Kentucky Jockey Club, seems to be improving nicely and most recently finished a good second in the Grade 3 LeComte at the Fairgrounds. He was bred by Blackstone Farm and is trained by Dallas Stewart for G M B racing.
The list’s lone New Jersey-bred, Sunny Ridge, may offer the second best resume among Midlantic-breds. The Holy Bull gelding, bred and owned by Dennis Drazin, has two wins and two seconds from five starts. The winner of Monmouth Park’s Sapling Stakes, Sunny Ridge, trained by Jason Servis, has run second in each of his last two races, the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont Park (at 23-1 odds) and the Grade 3 Delta Downs Jackpot.
Among Maryland-breds, Charmed Victory is the lone multiple winner in the group, having registered scores in maiden and allowance company to date. The son of Flatter was bred by Sycamore Hall Thoroughbreds LLC and is owned by Hillwood Stables LLC and Richard Golden. Rodney Jenkins trains the undefeated Charmed Victory, who cost $260,000 at auction and may make his next start in the one-mile, $75,000 Miracle Wood Stakes at Laurel Park on February 15.
Two breeders — R. Larry Johnson and Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin, III — bred two of the nominees each. Johnson’s pair are both Maryland-breds, Kelly Tough and Time Will Tell, while Iselin’s Virginia-breds are American Dubai and My Chennai Express.
The full list of nominees:
|Charmed Victory||MD||Sycamore Hall Thoroughbreds LLC||Hillwood Stable/Richard Golden||Rodney Jenkins||Son of Flatter won first 2 at Laurel Park||5th by 12 1/2 in Private Terms at LRL on 3/12|
|Kelly Tough||MD||Larry Johnson||David Melin, Leon Ellman, Laurie Plesa||Eddie Plesa||Quality Road colt broke his maiden at GP on 2/6||2nd by 3/4 in GP allowance 2/28|
|Southside Warrior||MD||Dark Hollow Farm||Bill Poston, Vicki Poston, James Smith||Mark Casse||Warrior's Reward colt broke maiden on turf at GP; 1 for 4 career||7th by 9 1/2 in OP allowance 3/12|
|Time Will Tell||MD||Larry Johnson||Gallostables||Jena Antonucci||Malibu Moon colt thrashed when 2nd on debut at AQU||6th in maiden at GP 2/20|
|Toughest 'Ombre||MD||Randy Cohen and Alyse Cohen||Hickory Plains||Thomas Albertrani||Tale of the Cat colt winless in 3 tries||Won maiden race at TAM 3/4|
|Bird of Trey||PA||JRita Young Thoroughbreds LLC||JRita Young Thoroughbreds LLC||John Servis||Impressive PA Nursery winner 4th by 16 in G3 Jerome||8th by 12 1/2 in OP allowance 3/12|
|Huntin'theholidays||PA||Horse Shoe Valley Equine||Alexander Levengood and Ronald Clark||Gerald Brooks||Jump Start colt has 2 wins from 10 starts, 5th by 15 in Frank Whiteley at LRL||5th in Frank Whiteley Stakes at LRL|
|I.M. Mighty||PA||Lori Lange||Lori Lange||Bernard T. Houghton||Saintly Prospect colt has not started|
|Ima Monster||PA||Maui Meadow Farm||Solange Chadda||Adam Phillips||Delaware Township colt has not started|
|Mor Spirit||PA||Elkstone Group LLC||Michael Lund Petersen||Bob Baffert||Eskendereya ridgling has won 2 of 4 including G1 Los Alamitos Futurity||2nd by 2 in G2 San Felipe at SA 3/12|
|Tasit||PA||George Strawbridge Jr.||Augustin Stable||Michael Matz||Broke maiden at LRL on grass||4th in GP allowance by 2 1/2 on 2/28|
|Tom's Ready||PA||Blackstone Farm LLC||G M B Racing||Dallas Stewart||Has a win from 7 starts, was a good 2nd in the G3 Lecomte||7th in G2 Risen Star at FG 2/20|
|Sunny Ridge||NJ||Dennis Drazin||Dennis Drazin||Jason Servis||Holy Bull gelding won the Sapling, 2nd in G1 Champagne and G3 Delta Jackpot||4th in G3 Gotham at AQU 3/5|
|American Dubai||VA||Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin, III||Richard Keith||Rodney Richards||E Dubai colt won at CD at 1st asking||3rd by 3 in G3 Southwest at OP|
|My Chennai Xpress||VA||Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin, III||Buppa Stables and Walking L Thoroughbreds||Ken McPeek||Hold Me Back colt broke maiden at OP after failing five prior times||2nd in allowance at OP 3/5|
|Realm||VA||Morgan's Ford Farm||Eric Dattner, Barclay Tagg, et. al.||Barclay Tagg||Haynesfield gelding won at 1st asking at SAR but has not run since||3rd by 7 in GP allowance 2/26|