Uncle Mo tops Triple Crown nominees

Undefeated Uncle Mo leads the list of 364 early nominees for the Triple Crown series for 3-year-olds.

The colt won the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and the Eclipse Award as last year’s top 2-year-old. Uncle Mo has a chance to give trainer Todd Pletcher consecutive victories in the Kentucky Derby, which Pletcher won last year with Super Saver.

Pletcher nominated a leading 20 horses, as did Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. Steve Asmussen nominated 17 horses, and Hall of Famers D. Wayne Lukas and Nick Zito have 12 each.

The early nomination period, when horses can be nominated for $600 each, closed Jan. 22. The late period, when nominations cost $6,000 each, closes on March 26.

The Triple Crown begins with the Derby on May 7, followed by the Preakness on May 21 and the Belmont on June 11.

Other early nominees are To Honor and Serve, CashCall Futurity winner Comma To The Top, Norfolk Stakes winner Jaycito and Del Mar Futurity winner J P’s Gusto.

Four fillies were nominated, including Turbulent Descent.

Only six horses from Europe were nominated. Trainer Jeremy Noseda has three, Aidan O’Brien has two and Clive Brittain one.

Absent from the early nominations is Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, who owns Dubai’s Godolphin Racing. His stable says it will wait until after the March 26 UAE Derby to decide if any of its horses will pursue the Triple Crown.

Darley, another arm of Sheikh Mohammed’s worldwide racing operation, leads the owners’ nominations with 13.

This year’s early nomination total is two less than last year’s early total of 366.

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