Two Early-Nominated to the Triple Crown
By Dick Downey
Updated 2:11 pm
Final entries are in for Thursday’s Road to the Kentucky Derby Conditions Stakes at Kempton Park in England. The race is part of the new European Road to the Derby.
Eight horses are entered, with two of them having been early-nominated to the Triple Crown. Gronkowski is the 13-8 morning line favorite, and Three Weeks is forecast at 11-2.
Mendelssohn, winner of the 2017 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, was part of the early entries but isn't named on the final list.
Jeremy Noseda trains Gronkowski, to be ridden by Jamie Spencer. The son of Lonhro (AUS) out of Four Sugars, by Lookin at Lucky, has two wins from two starts on synthetic track and a second place finish from two starts on flat turf. Thursday's race will be run on synthetic.
Gronkowski, who has career earnings of £9,628, was last seen winning a three-horse Novice Stakes at Newcastle on Feb. 9 He was timed for one mile in 1:40.61. Bred by Epic Thoroughbreds LLC, he's owned by Phoenix Thoroughbred, Ltd.
Three Weeks is trained by William Haggas, and Adam Kirby has been named to ride. The colt has £8,442 career earnings and was bred and is owned by Apple Tree Stud.
The son of Tapit, out of the Henrythenavigor mare Midnight Thoughts, has two wins from three synthetic track starts. His last outing also came at Newcastle in a different running of the Novice Stakes, and that field also had only three horses. His one-mile time was 1:39.72.
Kempton Park is 16 miles from London proper and is on the border of Greater London. Post time for the Road to the Kentucky Derby Conditions Stakes is 7:30 at night locally, which is 2:30 in the afternoon Eastern time.
Last fall, there were four races on the European Road to the Kentucky Derby. None of the potential Derby point-getters in those races was early-nominated to the Triple Crown. Early nominations cost $600 and were due Jan. 20. Late nominations for the Kentucky Derby are due on March 19 at a cost of $6,000.
The points distribution for Thursday's race is 20 to the winner, eight for second place, four for third place and points for fourth place. The points only count on the European Road to the Derby, and only one horse can make the Kentucky Derby from that grouping of races.
The two other remaining European Road to the Derby races are the Patton Stakes on Friday at Dundalk in Ireland and the Burradon Stakes on March 30 at Newcastle in England.
Mendelssohn, Seahenge, and Threeandfourpence, all of whom are nominated to the Triple Crown, were early entries in the race on Thursday; however, at this point they remain entered in Friday's Patton Stakes, which, like Thursday's race, is at one mile on synthetic track.
Complete entries and more information for the Road to the Kentucky Derby Conditions Stakes can be seen here.