Storm the Court among 347 horses eligible for Triple Crown

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Storm the Court, winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and last year's 2-year-old champion, is among 347 3-year-old thoroughbreds made eligible during the early nomination period to compete in this year's Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont stakes.

Other top horses include Authentic, Dennis' Moment, Independence Hall, Tiz the Law, Thousand Words and Shotski.

The total was down 15 horses from last year's 362 that were nominated at the early stage, which cost $600 and closed Jan. 25. The late period, requiring a payment of $6,000, continues through March 30.

Seven fillies, including Finite and unbeaten Taraz, along with 35 horses from outside North America also are among the early nominees for the Triple Crown series that opens with the Kentucky Derby on May 2. The Preakness is May 16 and the Belmont is June 6. Japan had 20 horses nominated — up from four last year — while Ireland had 11.

Two-time Derby winner Todd Pletcher led all trainers with 26 nominations. Steve Asmussen was next with 21 and five-time Derby winner Bob Baffert had 19.

Calumet Farm in Lexington led all owners with 13 nominations.

American Pharoah, who won the 2015 Triple Crown, was the leading sire with 15 offspring nominated.