Triple Crown Relief
The economic slump that has been experienced during the last year has affected many industries, and the horse racing industry did not escape unscathed. Breeding operations have been hit hard and owners have been fighting to keep their stable yards running. It is therefore not surprising that there was some concern by Triple Crown Productions in regard to nominations for the upcoming Triple Crown races. A drop in nominations was expected, but organizers were pleasantly surprised when the final nominations came in.
The dates for the Triple Crown races for 2009 have been set, with the Kentucky Derby (Churchill Downs) taking place on the 2nd of May, followed by the Preakness Stakes (Pimlico) on 16 May and the final leg, the Belmont Stakes, being hosted by Belmont Park on the 6th of June. Triple Crown Productions’ executive vice president, Ed Seigenfeld, said that he had not anticipated reaching four hundred nominations, but as the last day of early entries came to a close on 24 January, Seigenfeld was pleasantly surprised with 401 nominations.
Nominations are less than last year, but at $600 a horse for early entry, many owners stepped up to the plate to secure a place for their best horse racing athletes. Owners are still able to nominate horses from now on, but at an entry fee of $6 000, and the cut-off date for late nominations is the 28th of March 2009. Many top trainers have multiple horses nominated, such as Steve Asmussen with twenty-five entries, Todd Pletcher with twenty, Nick Zito with nineteen nominations and Bob Baffert with twelve. Sheik Mohammed’s Godolphin Racing stables did not let the opportunity to nominate horses pass them by, entering Midshipman and Vineyard Haven amongst their seven horses. Other nominations for the Triple Crown events included horses such as Donativum, Stardom Bound and Square Eddie.
When asked for comment on the nominations for the Triple Crown horse racing events, Seigenfeld answered: "Though the numbers are down from previous record-setting years in the early nominating period, we are thrilled to see that the elite of this three-year-old crop is represented among the nominations.” With many quality nominations being listed for this year’s events, it is going to be a memorable Triple Crown.