FORTY-NINE West Indian-bred three-year-olds were nominated at the first stage on Ash Wednesday for the 1,900-metre Midsummer Classic, which will be run off on May 30, Indian Arrival Day, at Santa Rosa Park, Arima.
The "Midsummer", which is the second leg of the Triple Crown series, attracted ten more nominees than the first leg, the Easter Guineas, which had 39 three-year-olds with subscriptions paid up at the second nomination stage, last week Wednesday.
The Easter Guineas will be contested on Easter Monday, April 1, at Santa Rosa Park.
The restriction on the number of runners allowed to take part in the Triple Crown races—only 16 horses are eligible for each event—has not prevented owners and trainers from nominating their charges.
To run in the Triple Crown races, horses must have points, which are gained by winning or placing in graded and handicap races. Preference is not given to the horses with points gained in graded races. Instead, those with the most points will get in.
There appears to be a number of late developers nominated, as there are 21 three-year-olds who have not yet made their racing debuts. Twenty-eight of the nominees have secured the minimum one point.
The second nomination for the 1,350-metre Starlight Stakes also closed on Ash Wednesday, with subs paid up for 11 West Indian-bred four-year-olds and over. The Starlight Stakes is scheduled for Saturday, March 24 at Santa Rosa.
Among the nominees are last year's Midsummer Classic winner Onetokeep and 2012 Easter Guineas winner Unquestionable. Both horses had penalties paid after connections missed the first nomination stage.
Also nominated are last year's Trinidad Derby Stakes winner Free Passage and unbeaten T&T-bred four-year-old Ramblin Rose.