Storm the Court among 347 horses eligible for Triple Crown


LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Storm the Court, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and last year’s 2-year-old champion, is among 347 3-year-old thoroughbreds made eligible during the early nomination period to compete in this year’s Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont stakes.

Other top horses include Authentic, Dennis’ Moment, Independence Hall, Tiz the Law, Thousand Words and Shotski.

The total was down 15 horses from last year’s 362 that were nominated at the early stage, which cost $600 and closed Jan. 25. The late period, requiring a payment of $6,000, continues through March 30.

Seven fillies, including Finite and unbeaten Taraz, along with 35 horses from outside North America also are among the early nominees for the Triple Crown series that opens with the Kentucky Derby on May 2. The Preakness is May 16 and the Belmont is June 6. Japan had 20 horses nominated – up from four last year – while Ireland had 11.

Two-time Derby winner Todd Pletcher led all trainers with 26 nominations. Steve Asmussen was next with 21 and five-time Derby winner Bob Baffert had 19.

Calumet Farm in Lexington led all owners with 13 nominations.

American Pharoah, who won the 2015 Triple Crown, was the leading sire with 15 offspring nominated.

Arabian Knight off Kentucky Derby trail; will return later

Matt Stone/Courier Journal/USA TODAY NETWORK

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Arabian Knight is off the Kentucky Derby trail.

Wagering has been suspended on the 3-year-old colt for the Derby’s future wager after owner Amr Zedan announced the decision. Arabian Knight was the second choice on the morning line behind favorite Forte for the May 6 race.

“Trainer Tim Yakteen wasn’t happy with his last work & we feel it’s in Arabian Knight’s best interest not to rush & allow him more time to develop,” Zedan tweeted. “We know he’s a superior talent & our plan is to point him toward a summer and fall campaign.”

Purchased for $2.3 million as a 2-year-old, Arabian Knight won his debut by 7 1/4 lengths at Keeneland last November. He made his 3-year-old debut in the Southwest at Oaklawn in January and won by 5 1/2 lengths.

Arabian Knight had his third workout at Santa Anita.

Tapit Trice wins Tampa Bay Derby, earns Kentucky Derby points

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TAMPA, Fla. — Tapit Trice rallied from last to win the $360,000 Tampa Bay Derby by two lengths and earn qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby.

Ridden by Luis Saez, Tapit Trice ran 1 1/16 miles 1:43.37. The 1-2 favorite in the field of 12 paid $3 to win. The 3-year-old colt earned 50 qualifying points, which places him in the 20-horse field for the Kentucky Derby on May 6.

Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher extended his record for most wins in the Grade 3 race to six. He already has the early Kentucky Derby favorite in Forte, who won the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream last weekend.

Classic Car Wash was second and Classic Legacy was another 1 1/4 lengths back in third.

Tapit Trice was making his stakes debut after winning two of three starts.

“Once he got clear down the lane, he really extended himself,” Pletcher said. ”I loved the way he finished up. He relished the two turns, and the longer he goes, the better he’ll get.”