Late nominations OK'd for Ky. Derby Entry-time privilege will cost $150,000

September 14, 1990|By Dale Austin

5/8 TC The Kentucky Derby was opened to supplementary entries as a result of adjustments made in the Triple Crown conditions announced yesterday.

In an attempt to address criticism of the Triple Crown, particularly the point system for two rich bonuses, the operators of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes made several changes.

The biggest will permit supplementary nominations at entry time, two days before the Derby. Supplementary nominations have not been allowed in the Derby in modern times.

Under the new rules, to bypass a January or April nomination deadline, an owner would have to pay $150,000 to get his horse eligible on the day entries are drawn.

The $150,000, which would go into the Derby purse, also would make the horse eligible for the Preakness and Belmont Stakes. If an owner waited until the Preakness to supplement, he would have to pay only $100,000, which also would open the Belmont to him.

A supplementary entry to the Belmont will cost $50,000.

Horses had been supplemented for years to the Preakness and Belmont, but that provision was dropped starting with the 1986 Triple Crown, when the three races were joined for nomination purposes.

"After review and analysis of the nomination procedures, and discussions with horsemen and the media, we felt the extension of the late nomination deadline and allowing supplements give horsemen every possible chance to be in the Triple Crown races," said Ed Seigenfeld, executive director of Triple Crown Productions.

The Derby's prohibition of supplemental entries may have had one of its biggest impacts in 1980.

That year, Codex won the Santa Anita Derby but was not nominated for the Kentucky Derby and had to skip the race. Codex had been nominated for the Preakness and won at Pimlico Race Course. He also had been nominated for the Belmont Stakes, in which he ran seventh.

"Codex won the Santa Anita Derby and later he won the Hollywood Derby, which was run in April in those years," said Jeff Lukas, son of Codex's trainer, Wayne Lukas.

"He couldn't be supplemented for the Kentucky Derby, so he went in the Preakness. Would he have run in the Derby if he could have been supplemented? I don't know. That would have been up to John Nerud."

Nerud, who managed the horses owned by Tartan Stable, had expressed a dislike for the Kentucky Derby and did not nominate Codex for the race.

In 1987, Lost Code, a son of Codex, became a top runner after nominations for the Triple Crown deadlines passed. Lost Code won four other derbies after being treated with Lasix, a bleeder medication.

Old charts of the Derby indicate supplemental nominations were not made. However, in the 1908 Derby, two horses were listed as "added starters." Apparently, they were added after three scratches had reduced the field to six.

The first provision for Preakness supplementals was in 1938. In 1948, Citation and Coaltown were supplemented to the Preakness at $3,000 each. They ran 1-2, and Citation went on to sweep the Triple Crown.

Supplementals were permitted for the Belmont Stakes in 1956, but none was paid until 1958. For the 1985 Preakness, a payment of $20,000 was required.

Triple Crown Productions, made up of the operators of Churchill Downs, Pimlico and Belmont Park, announced the changes, and revealed the two nomination deadlines for the 1991 races. The first deadline is Jan. 16, at which time a fee of $600 is charged for nomination to all three races.

If an owner misses the Jan. 16 deadline, he can make a late nomination by April 8 by paying $4,500. This represents two changes. Last year, the late nomination deadline was in mid-March and carried a $3,000 fee.

If both those deadlines pass, an owner can nominate his horse for the Derby only by paying the $150,000 supplemental.

Seigenfeld said that if races are oversubscribed at entry time, horses nominated earlier would have preference over supplementals.

The Triple Crown's point system -- involving a $1 million bonus for the best performance in all three races -- has been altered.

Until now, points had been awarded on a 5-3-1 basis. In 1987, under that system, Alysheba won the Derby and Preakness, but lost the bonus to Bet Twice, who had run second in the first two races and won the Belmont, in which Alysheba ran fourth.

The new scoring will be based on a 10-5-3-1 system.

"Under the new system, a horse that wins two races has to finish in a tie for the bonus," Seigenfeld said. "Under the new system, Alysheba would have gotten the $1 million."

Unchanged is the $5 million Chrysler Triple Crown Challenge, which guarantees that amount to any horse winning all three races. The guarantee amounts to a bonus of about $2.5 million because the $1 million bonus and the three purses would be deducted before the payoff is made.

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