Charmed Victory surged to a six-length win against allowance foes at Laurel Park. Photo by The Racing Biz.

Charmed Victory is one of 16 Triple Crown nominees bred in the mid-Atlantic region.  Photo by The Racing Biz.

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 VictoryMDSycamore Hall Thoroughbreds LLCHillwood Stable/Richard GoldenRodney JenkinsSon of Flatter won first 2 at Laurel Park5th by 12 1/2 in Private Terms at LRL on 3/12
Kelly ToughMDLarry JohnsonDavid Melin, Leon Ellman, Laurie PlesaEddie PlesaQuality Road colt broke his maiden at GP on 2/62nd by 3/4 in GP allowance 2/28
Southside WarriorMDDark Hollow FarmBill Poston, Vicki Poston, James SmithMark CasseWarrior's Reward colt broke maiden on turf at GP; 1 for 4 career7th by 9 1/2 in OP allowance 3/12
Time Will TellMDLarry JohnsonGallostablesJena AntonucciMalibu Moon colt thrashed when 2nd on debut at AQU6th in maiden at GP 2/20
Toughest 'OmbreMDRandy Cohen and Alyse CohenHickory PlainsThomas AlbertraniTale of the Cat colt winless in 3 triesWon maiden race at TAM 3/4
Bird of TreyPAJRita Young Thoroughbreds LLCJRita Young Thoroughbreds LLCJohn ServisImpressive PA Nursery winner 4th by 16 in G3 Jerome8th by 12 1/2 in OP allowance 3/12
Huntin'theholidaysPAHorse Shoe Valley EquineAlexander Levengood and Ronald ClarkGerald BrooksJump Start colt has 2 wins from 10 starts, 5th by 15 in Frank Whiteley at LRL5th in Frank Whiteley Stakes at LRL
I.M. MightyPALori LangeLori LangeBernard T. HoughtonSaintly Prospect colt has not started
Ima MonsterPAMaui Meadow FarmSolange ChaddaAdam PhillipsDelaware Township colt has not started
Mor SpiritPAElkstone Group LLCMichael Lund PetersenBob BaffertEskendereya ridgling has won 2 of 4 including G1 Los Alamitos Futurity2nd by 2 in G2 San Felipe at SA 3/12
TasitPAGeorge Strawbridge Jr.Augustin StableMichael MatzBroke maiden at LRL on grass4th in GP allowance by 2 1/2 on 2/28
Tom's ReadyPABlackstone Farm LLCG M B RacingDallas StewartHas a win from 7 starts, was a good 2nd in the G3 Lecomte7th in G2 Risen Star at FG 2/20
Sunny RidgeNJDennis DrazinDennis DrazinJason ServisHoly Bull gelding won the Sapling, 2nd in G1 Champagne and G3 Delta Jackpot4th in G3 Gotham at AQU 3/5
American DubaiVAMrs. C. Oliver Iselin, IIIRichard KeithRodney RichardsE Dubai colt won at CD at 1st asking3rd by 3 in G3 Southwest at OP
My Chennai XpressVAMrs. C. Oliver Iselin, IIIBuppa Stables and Walking L ThoroughbredsKen McPeekHold Me Back colt broke maiden at OP after failing five prior times2nd in allowance at OP 3/5
RealmVAMorgan's Ford FarmEric Dattner, Barclay Tagg, et. al.Barclay TaggHaynesfield gelding won at 1st asking at SAR but has not run since3rd by 7 in GP allowance 2/26