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CHARLES TOWN – Giovanni Boldini, a West Virginia-bred for local horse breeder Charles “Buck” Woodson who finished second last fall in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita, is among more than 400 thoroughbreds nominated for the Triple Crown series for 3-year-olds.
Born in 2010 on Woodson’s 40-acre Buckstud Farm near Charles Town, Giovanni Boldini garnered records prices for a West Virginia-bred as both a weanling and yearling. A son of War Front named for an Italian artist, Giovanni Boldini was purchased as a weanling for $190,000 and later pin-hooked at a yearling sale for $675,000 before ending up in the barn of Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien.
Giovanni Boldini is joined by the likes of undefeated Shared Belief and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile runner-up Havana as horses receiving considerable attention atop the list of 413 early nominees.
It’s the most nominees since 2008, when 449 horses were made eligible for the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont stakes during the early nomination phase.
Trainer Todd Pletcher has a record 42 horses nominated – or 10.2 percent of the overall total – including Havana, stakes winner We Miss Artie and Commissioner, and fillies StopchargingMaria and Forward Gal. Pletcher made 32 horses eligible in 2012. He has three Triple Crown victories, including last year’s Belmont with Palace Malice.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert was second with 18 nominations, followed by Steve Asmussen with 13 and D. Wayne Lukas with 12.
The early nomination period, when horses can be nominated for $600 each, closed Jan. 25. The late period, when nominations cost $6,000 apiece, closes March 22. The nominations released Saturday are up from the 382 horses at the same time a year ago.
The Triple Crown begins with the May 3 Kentucky Derby, followed by the Preakness on May 17 and the Belmont on June 7.
CashCall Futurity winner Shared Belief is co-owned by trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and sports talk host Jim Rome.
Besides Pletcher’s two fillies, 12 other females were nominated, including Ria Antonia, who won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies by disqualification.
Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor, who share ownership of 13 nominees, had the most among owners.
Horses not nominated during the early or late nomination phases can become eligible through a supplemental fee of $200,000 for the Derby, and $150,000 for the Preakness or $75,000 for the Belmont. – Staff and wire reports