Helium, Weyburn Top Late Triple Crown Nominations


D.J. Stable’s Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby (G2) winner Helium  and with Chiefswood Stables’ Gotham Stakes (G3) upsetter Weyburn  were among nine 3-year-olds made eligible to compete in the Triple Crown with a $6,000 late payment that was due March 29.

With nine late nominees during the Jan. 23-March 29 late nomination phase (pending late mail), there are now 335 horses eligible to compete in the Triple Crown’s three-race series. The series opens May 1 with the 147th running of the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. The 146th Preakness (G1), its 1 3/16-mile second jewel, follows two weeks later on May 15 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md. The 153rd running of the Belmont Stakes (G1), the series’ 1 1/2-mile final leg, then completes the series June 5 at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.

Trainer Mark Casse is training Helium straight toward the Kentucky Derby without an additional start, while the Jimmy Jerkens-trained Weyburn is expected to contest the April 3 Wood Memorial Presented by Resorts World Casino (G2) at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Other late Triple Crown nominees include Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum’s UAE Derby Sponsored By Emirates NBD (G2) runner-up Panadol ; Reddam Racing’s Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) third-place finisher Hockey Dad ; Larry Katz’ Turf Paradise Derby winner It’s My House ; Michael Dubb and Bethlehem Stables’ three-time winner Maythehorsebwithu ; Phillip Ward’s stakes-placed Tiz Mandate ; MyRacehorse.com, Medallion Racing, Parkland Thoroughbreds, and Edward Kelly’s European transfer Carrothers; and Clark M. Cooper Family Trust, Mia Familia Racing Stable, and Wade Jacobsen’s two-time winner Back Ring Luck .

Any horse not nominated during the early or late phases can become Triple Crown eligible through a supplemental nomination payment due at the time of entry for each Triple Crown race. The Kentucky Derby has a $200,000 supplemental fee, the Preakness $100,000, and the Belmont $50,000.

Churchill Downs officials also announced none of the participants in this season’s Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby has accepted the automatic bid provided to winners of races conducted as part of that series. And none of the participants in the European Road to the Kentucky Derby, which concludes April 1 in England, has been made eligible for the Triple Crown.

Churchill Downs officials have made international participation a focus for the Derby and its other races in recent years, building three quarantine barns to facilitate shipping horses there. Japan’s Master Fencer  was the last foreign horse to compete in the Derby, finishing sixth in the 2019 Derby. He was later fifth in the Belmont.

The absence of European or Japanese runners is of slight benefit to American-based Derby prospects with relatively low Derby qualifying that could be excluded if the race overfills beyond its capacity field of 20.

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