03/23/2016 11:20AM

Nine late nominees to 2016 Triple Crown races

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NEW ORLEANS – Nine 3-year-olds, including stakes winners Abiding Star, Governor Malibu, and Surgical Strike, were made eligible to the Triple Crown with a payment of $6,000 that was due Monday, Churchill Downs, the home of the Kentucky Derby, announced Wednesday.

The other six are American Pioneer, Cards of Stone, Isofass, Lookin for a Kiss, My Man Sam, and Zapperini, who is entered in the Grade 2, $1 million Louisiana Derby here at Fair Grounds on Saturday.

Another 368 3-year-olds were made eligible for $600 at the first deadline in January. That brings to 377 the number of horses nominated to the Kentucky Derby on May 7, the Preakness Stakes on May 21, and the Belmont Stakes on June 10.

By comparison, there were 438 nominations last year, 429 at the first deadline and nine at the second.

There are still supplementary nomination opportunities for those not already nominated, but the costs are steep: $200,000 before the Derby, $150,000 before the Preakness, and $75,000 at entry time for the Belmont.

Abiding Star won the Private Terms Stakes at Laurel Park on March 12. Governor Malibu won the Gander Stakes at Aqueduct on Feb. 6. Surgical Strike won the Battaglia Memorial at Turfway Park on March 12.

Perhaps the most highly regarded of the late nominees is My Man Sam, who finished second to Matt King Coal in a fast Aqueduct allowance March 6 and is scheduled to make his next start April 9 in either the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct or the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland.