The Road to Glory: Corniche and Filly Echo Zulu Headline Elite Nominees for the 2022 Triple Crown

The Foal Class of 2019: Dropping Nominations for the Triple Crown

The anticipation for the Triple Crown series is always high, as horse racing enthusiasts eagerly await the next generation of talented thoroughbreds. However, the nominations for the 2022 Triple Crown have shown a decline compared to previous years. The foal class of 2019 sent 312 horses into nomination, marking a 4.3% drop from last year’s 326 nominations.

Record 21 Nominations from Japan

While the overall number of nominations has decreased, there is an interesting trend emerging. The 2022 Triple Crown nominations include a record 21 horses from Japan. This surge of Japanese nominations can be attributed to the recent success of Japanese-based horses in prestigious races such as the Breeders’ Cup Distaff and the Filly & Mare Turf. Marche Lorraine and Loves Only You, both hailing from Japan, clinched victories in these races, paving the way for more Japanese contenders to enter the Triple Crown series.

Pricing and Deadlines for Nominated Horses

Connections for each nominated horse had to pay a fee of $600 during the early nomination period, which closed on January 29. However, for those who missed the deadline, there was still a chance to nominate a horse by the late deadline on Monday, March 28, albeit at a higher cost of $6,000.

If a horse fails to meet the late deadline, the price of admission to the Triple Crown skyrockets. The cost for entering the Kentucky Derby is a staggering $200,000, followed by $150,000 for the Preakness and $50,000 for the Belmont Stakes.

Echo Zulu: The Leading Filly

Among the 312 nominated horses, one filly stands out in terms of earnings – Echo Zulu. With over $1.4 million in earnings, Echo Zulu is not only one of six nominated fillies but also the frontrunner in terms of financial success. Her remarkable performances on the track have earned her a prominent position in the nominations for the 2022 Triple Crown.

The Triple Crown Series

The Triple Crown series is composed of three prestigious races: the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes. Each race offers its unique challenges and rewards, captivating viewers with thrilling displays of athleticism and determination.

The Kentucky Derby

The Triple Crown season kicks off with the Kentucky Derby, a 1 ¼-mile race held at Churchill Downs. Known as “the most exciting two minutes in sports,” the Derby is a showcase of raw talent and speed. This year’s Kentucky Derby will take place on Saturday, May 7.

The Preakness

Two weeks after the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes takes center stage at Pimlico Race Course. With a distance of 1 3/16 miles, this race is crucial for those aiming to continue their Triple Crown journey. The Preakness is scheduled for May 21.

The Belmont Stakes

The final leg of the Triple Crown is the Belmont Stakes, often regarded as the ultimate test of endurance. Run over 1 ½ miles at Belmont Park, this race has a rich history and challenges horses to display both stamina and speed. The 2022 Belmont Stakes will conclude the Triple Crown season on June 11.

The Contenders

As we anticipate the upcoming Triple Crown races, it’s important to highlight some of the standout contenders.


Corniche emerged as a frontrunner after winning both the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and the American Pharoah Stakes as a 2-year-old. However, his chances for the Kentucky Derby have come into question due to a report suggesting his availability may be uncertain. At present, Corniche’s odds for the Derby are 22/1 at Circa Sports and 8/1 at Caesars-William Hill.

Echo Zulu

Echo Zulu, one of the six nominated fillies, made a significant impact last year by winning three Grade 1 races – the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, the Frizette, and the Spinaway. With her impressive performances, she has solidified her position as a top contender among the nominated horses.

Potential Baffert Colts

While Bob Baffert awaits the results of his hearing with the New York Racing Association, the potential presence of his colts in the Triple Crown series cannot be overlooked. Jack Christopher, Pinehurst, and Rattle N Roll, winners of various Grade 1 juvenile races, could add intrigue and excitement, particularly in the Preakness.

Trainers and Owners

The success of a thoroughbred often rests in the hands of skilled trainers and dedicated owners. In this year’s nominations, Todd Pletcher leads the way with 42 nominated horses. Brad Cox, Chad Brown, Steve Asmussen, and Bob Baffert also have notable representation among their respective stables.

When it comes to ownership, Siena Farm stands out with 24 nominated horses. Anthony Manganaro’s farm has divided this impressive number equally among two consortium partnerships, showcasing their influence and commitment to the sport.

Influential Sires

The role of sires in shaping the future of horse racing cannot be underestimated. In the nominations for the 2022 Triple Crown series, Gun Runner has dethroned Into Mischief as the leading sire. Gun Runner, a former racehorse himself, has proven his worth as a sire, producing 16 nominated horses. Into Mischief follows closely with 14 nominations, six fewer than last year.

Quality Road, Tapit, and a quartet consisting of Arrogate, Curlin, Nyquist, and Uncle Mo round out the top five sires with nine nominations each. These influential stallions contribute to the strength and depth of the Triple Crown field.

Stakes Winners and Their Impact

Stakes winners hold a significant place among the nominated horses, reflecting their previous achievements on the track. This year, 25 stakes winners have been nominated for the Triple Crown series, although this number is lower than last year’s 42. However, this decrease can be attributed to multiple winners such as Corniche, Echo Zulu, Messier, and Newgrange.

Notably, Echo Zulu and Corniche have both surpassed the million-dollar earnings mark, with Echo Zulu leading the nominations with $1,480,000 and Corniche close behind at $1,262,000. Their success and proven abilities make them formidable contenders in the upcoming races.

State Contributions and International Presence

It comes as no surprise that the majority of nominated horses hail from the thoroughbred-rich state of Kentucky, with 250 out of the total 312 nominations originating from there. New York follows as a distant second with 14 nominations, while Florida and Pennsylvania contribute 13 and four nominations, respectively.

Other states such as California, Louisiana, Maryland, and Illinois are also represented in the nominations, albeit with smaller numbers. Additionally, Canada and Ireland have made their mark with three nominations each, demonstrating the international reach and appeal of the Triple Crown series.


The nominations for the 2022 Triple Crown series reveal a mix of familiar names and promising newcomers. Horse racing enthusiasts around the world eagerly await the battles that will unfold on the tracks of Churchill Downs, Pimlico Race Course, and Belmont Park. With talented contenders, influential sires, and notable trainers and owners, this year’s Triple Crown promises an exciting showcase of speed, stamina, and sheer determination.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the significance of the early nomination period?

The early nomination period allows connections to nominate their horses at a lower cost. Missing this deadline means paying a much higher fee to enter the Triple Crown series.

2. How does a horse become eligible for the Preakness and the Belmont if not the Kentucky Derby?

A horse that is ineligible for the Kentucky Derby due to various reasons, such as a trainer’s suspension, may still be eligible for the Preakness and the Belmont, pending further considerations and assessments.

3. Who are some notable trainers in this year’s nominations?

Among the notable trainers are Todd Pletcher, Brad Cox, Chad Brown, Steve Asmussen, and Bob Baffert, who have consistently produced successful horses in previous Triple Crown seasons.

4. What impact do sires have on the Triple Crown races?

Sires play a crucial role in shaping the genetics and abilities of their offspring. A successful sire can produce talented horses that become strong contenders in the Triple Crown series.

5. How does the international presence in the nominations reflect the growing global interest in the Triple Crown?

The inclusion of nominations from countries like Japan, Canada, and Ireland highlights the international appeal and recognition of the Triple Crown series. It showcases the sport’s ability to attract participants from various corners of the world.

Picture of Doug I. Jones

Doug I. Jones

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