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.

Triple Crown winner Justify under observation at Del Mar

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DEL MAR, Calif. (AP) Triple Crown winner Justify has re-located to Del Mar where trainer Bob Baffert is keeping him under observation after swelling in his left front ankle emerged two weeks ago.

Baffert says Justify will probably just walk around the stable area for the next two weeks at the track north of San Diego. The probable scenario for the colt is a return to racing sometime in the fall with the ultimate goal being the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs in November.

“Right now, we’re just looking to get him 100 percent,” Baffert said Monday. “We’re in a holding pattern. I’d love to run him again because he’s so much fun and exciting to watch. We should know more in a couple of weeks.”

Justify has won all six starts in his brief career that began this year. He has won four straight Grade 1 races, including a sweep of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont to become horse racing’s 13th Triple Crown champion.

The colt hasn’t had a workout since the Belmont Stakes on June 9.

Funtastic wins Monmouth’s United Nations Stakes in 23-1 upset

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OCEANPORT, N.J. — Funtastic led all the way in a 23-1 upset Saturday in the $300,000 United Nations Stakes at Monmouth Park.

Chad Brown, the Eclipse Award winner the last two years as the nation’s leading trainer, got his third victory in the New Jersey’s biggest turf race. He won with Big Blue Kitten in 2013 and 2015.

The U.N. and the $1 million Haskell on July 29 are the two Grade 1 stakes at Monmouth.

Brown saddled four of the nine runners in the U.N. and ran 1-2 as Money Multiplier rallied to finish a half length behind Funtastic and jockey Antonio Gallardo.

The other two Brown horses were Silverwave (fifth) and Kurilov (eighth).

The time was 2:12.36 for 1 3/8 miles over the firm course.

Funtastic paid $48, $15.80 and $8.60. Money Multiplier, the 2-1 favorite, returned $4 and $2.80.

Bigger Picture, last year’s U.N. winner, was third, paying $5.80 to show.