14 Midlantic-Breds Nominated To Triple Crown; Top Contender Is A Virginia-Bred

The following appeared in The Racing Biz February 2nd.

by Frank Vespe

The early nominations process for the Triple Crown closed with, it was announced yesterday, 360 nominations. That represented a 14 percent drop from last year’s 418 early nominations and was the lowest total since 2005.

The Triple Crown races include the Kentucky Derby, May 5 at Churchill Downs; the Preakness Stakes, May 19 at Pimlico Race Course; and the Belmont Stakes, June 9 at Belmont Park.

Virginia-bred Greyvitos is shown in the winners circle after capturing the Bob Hope Stakes.

Early nominations closed January 20, with nominators paying a $600 fee to put their horses in the mix. Foot-draggers can still nominate through the second closing, March 19, with a $6,000 payment. The 360 nominations represent about 1.7 percent of the estimated 20,850 foals of 2015, a number off by about 2.5 percent from the previous year.

Fourteen of the 360 nominees were bred in the mid-Atlantic region, with Maryland the most-represented state.  All told, 10 horses from Maryland were nominated to the series, with Virginia adding two, and one each from Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The top Maryland-bred nominee in terms of accomplishment to date is likely the Tim Keefe trainee Still Having Fun. The Old Fashioned colt, whom he co-bred with Mr. and Mars. Charles McGinnes, has won two of three starts, including posting a dominant four-length win last out in the Frank Whiteley, Jr. Stakes at Laurel Park. The only blemish on his record is a neck defeat in the Maryland Juvenile Futurity.

Having Fun is not the only Maryland-bred stakes winner nominated to the Triple Crown, however. The list also includes Clever Mind and Whereshetoldmetogo.

The former, a Buffum colt bred by Sycamore Hall Thoroughbreds, is trained by Graham Motion. He won impressively at first asking in the Maryland Million Nursery, rallying from last after a slow start to win going away. But in his follow-up, he was a disappointing third at 3-10 odds in the Maryland Juvenile Futurity.

The latter, a son of the late El Padrino, was bred by David Wade. Trained by Anthony Pecoraro, he’s won two of seven starts, his most consequential victory coming in the First State Dash at Delaware Park. He was also second, beaten a neck at long odds, in the $75,000 Smooth Air at Gulfstream Park.

Greyvitos (blue silks) heads to the finish in the $400,000 Springboard Mile Stakes December 17th at Remington. Photo by Dustin Orona.

For all that, the top contender (at this point) among Midlantic-breds isn’t from Maryland, he’s a Virginia-bred. Greyvitos has won two of four career starts, overcoming the San Luis Rey fire to win his most recent outing, in the $400,000 Springboard Mile at Remington Park. He also won the Grade 3 Bob Hope at Del Mar, which was his maiden-breaking effort.

Greyvitos, a Malibu Moon colt, was bred by Audley Farm Equine. He’s trained by Adam Kitchingman for Triple B Farms.

The roster of Midlantic-breds also includes Septimius Severus, a Pennsylvania-bred Roman Ruler colt, and Mayrhofen, a New Jersey-bred Curlin colt. Both have maiden victories to their credit.