Good Magic among 360 horses eligible for Triple Crown series

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Good Magic, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and last year’s 2-year-old champion, is among 360 3-year-old thoroughbreds made eligible during the early nomination period to compete in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont stakes.

Other top horses are: once-beaten Bolt d’Oro, BC Juvenile runner-up Solomini, undefeated McKinzie and BC Juvenile Turf winner Mendelssohn.

Four fillies and 19 horses based outside North America, including 13 from Europe, also are among the early nominees for the Triple Crown series that opens with the Kentucky Derby on May 5. The Preakness is May 18 and the Belmont is June 9.

This year’s early nominations are down from last year’s total of 419 horses. Another six horses were made eligible during the late nomination period to raise last year’s total to 425.

It costs owners and trainers $600 to nominate each horse during the early period, which ended Jan. 20. The late period, requiring a payment of $6,000, is underway and ends March 19.

Todd Pletcher led all trainers with 37 horses nominated. Bob Baffert was second with 32. Irishman Aidan O’Brien led international trainers with six horses.

Zayat Stables led all owners with 12 horses nominated, one more than WinStar Farm.

Since American Pharoah won the Triple Crown in 2015, each Triple Crown race has had a different winner.

3 jockeys, 3 trainers and 4 thoroughbreds finalists for HOF

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) Jockeys Robby Albarado, Corey Nakataki and Craig Perret are among 10 finalists on the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame ballot.

Also on the ballot released Thursday were thoroughbreds Blind Luck, Gio Ponti, Havre de Grace and Heavenly Prize, and trainers Mark Casse, John Shirreffs and David Whiteley.

Votes from two-thirds of the nominating committee were necessary to qualify as finalists and the rule capping the number of inductees at four has been eliminated.

Hall of Fame ballots will be mailed to the voting panel on March 1. Results of the voting on the contemporary candidates will be announced April 16. Those who receive a majority of the votes will be elected.

The induction ceremony will be held at the Fasig-Tipton Sales pavilion in Saratoga Springs on Aug. 3.

Texts reveal extent of doping scandal in Aussie horse racing

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MELBOURNE, Australia — A newspaper has revealed text messages between a leading trainer and stable staff involved in a doping scandal that resulted in eight persons being charged and may have included the 2015 Melbourne Cup, Australia’s richest and most prestigious horse race.

The Herald Sun in Melbourne said Wednesday the texts, uncovered by integrity investigators, detailed conversations over the alleged administration of illegal doses of performance-enhancing sodium bicarbonate in a practice known as “tubing” just before a race.

The newspaper said the most explosive text came on the eve of the 2015 Melbourne Cup where a trainer and stable hand discussed using “top-ups,” allegedly a reference to a mix of prohibited substances often administered within minutes of competition.

The stable hand responds that he’ll need a “wheelbarrow” to carry them all after the trainer requests the top-up. He then adds: “I’ll be walking funny, got two Cup horses as well.”

The eight persons charged last month face 271 offenses since 2010.

“The Integrity Services Department and our stewards have worked swiftly to fully investigate these matters resulting in the laying of charges,” Racing Victoria chief executive Giles Thompson said when the charges were announced in January.