01/23/2013 5:40PM

Triple Crown early nominations due by Saturday

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Early nominations for the three races of the 2013 Triple Crown are due by the close of Saturday, the three tracks hosting the races said on Wednesday.

Early nominations cost $600 and make the nominated horse eligible to start in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. Mailed nominations must be postmarked with a Jan. 26 date to be accepted. Nominations can also be made online at wwww.thetriplecrown.com or via telephone with a designated representative of the three tracks prior to 11:59 p.m. on Saturday.

Following Jan. 26, nominations to the series will cost $6,000. That nomination period will run from Jan. 27 through March 23. After that period closes, it costs $200,000 to make a horse eligible for the Kentucky Derby. It costs $100,000 to make a horse eligible for either the Preakness or Belmont.

Last year, 398 horses were nominated to the Triple Crown by the close of the early period. Following 20 additional nominations in the late period, the total of eligible horses rose to 418.

This is the first year in which starting berths for the Kentucky Derby will be determined by a new points system emphasizing placings in stakes races that are held close to the running of the Derby. The Derby field is limited to 20 starters.