Bob Baffert is ahead of the pack again, leading all trainers with 35 horses nominated to the Triple Crown races.
The trainer of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah has nearly 10 percent of the 368 early nominations released by Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., on Thursday.
Business is good after American Pharoah became the first horse in 37 years to sweep the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes: Baffert had 15 nominations last year.
Todd Pletcher was second among trainers with 28 nominations, and Chad Brown next with 12. The top three trainers have just over 20 percent of the nominations.
Zayat Stables, owners of American Pharoah, leads all owners with 15 nominations. Ahmed Zayat's stable has several Triple Crown nominees with Baffert, including Jazzy Times and Justin Squared. A year ago, Zayat had nine nominations.
Nyquist, the undefeated 2-year-old champion and winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, is considered the early favorite for the Derby on May 7.
The 3-year-old colt is trained by Doug O'Neill and owned by J. Paul Reddam, who teamed to win the 2012 Derby and Preakness with I'll Have Another.
Among Baffert's top 3-year-olds are the 1-2 finishers in the Sham Stakes, Collected and Let's Meet in Rio, and the 1-2 finishers in the Los Alamitos Futurity, Mor Spirit and Toews on Ice.
Three fillies were nominated: Flora Dora, Northwest Tale and Royal Obsession.
The number of nominations declined 14 percent from a year ago, and it's the lowest number since 2011. The 368 horses represent 1.6 percent of the 2013 total foal crop of an estimated 23,500 thoroughbreds, about the same as last year.
The early nomination period closed Jan. 16, at a cost of $600 per horse. The late phase closes March 21 at a cost of $6,000 per horse. After that, there's a $200,000 supplemental entry fee for the Derby.
Timonium: The Maryland Racing Commission will hold a meeting Feb. 11 about adding year-round horse race simulcasting to the state fairgrounds in Timonium. The Maryland Jockey Club has been installing monitors and furniture in a 2,500-square-foot area of the grandstand in anticipation of opening the simulcasting and off-track betting area — a plan that has drawn opposition from community leaders and elected officials. Opponents of the plan have said the simulcasting operation will worsen traffic and detract from the family-friendly atmosphere of the fairgrounds. And they say they were not adequately informed of the proposal.
Nuggets' Will Barton opens sports clothing store in Waverly
Denver Nuggets star and Baltimore native Will Barton visited his hometown Thursday to open a clothing store in Waverly that will sell Barton's "Protect The Family" line of sports apparel. Barton said a portion of all sales will support mentoring programs for underprivileged children in the city. He described the mission as near and dear to his heart. "Growing up in Baltimore, my family was the most important thing in my life and is the reason I have any success today," he said. "That's why we created Protect The Family—to honor not just my family but to give everyone the opportunity to recognize their families no matter who they consider that to be." Barton, who starred at Lake Clifton and City College, is having a breakout season with the Nuggets. He was preparing to play against the Washington Wizards on Thursday night. He also emerged as a community leader last year during the civil unrest after Freddie Gray's death in police custody, helping to organize a neighborhood recreation day and cookout in Druid Hill Park.
Carroll Co. games, some private events on for today
With Baltimore City, and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford and Howard counties all out of school today because of snow, all the athletic events involving public schools from those areas will be postponed. Carroll County is off because of a previously planned professional day, and high school games will be played as scheduled. Private schools generally follow the public schools on weather-related closings, but some were planning on opening today, so some events will be played. The private school indoor track championships are expected to go on as scheduled at 3:45 p.m. at the Prince George's County Sports & Learning Complex.
Varsity football: After a five-year absence since he was last a head coach in Anne Arundel County, J.P. Hines will be back on the sideline later this year. Hines, who went 81-59 at Severna Park from 1998 to 2010, was hired last week as the new head coach at Northeast after the dismissal of Ken Fowler following the 2015 season. Hines, of Millersville, will remain a teacher at Severna Park.
—Bob Hough, Baltimore Sun Media Group
NFL: The Arizona Cardinals signed former Ravens cornerback and return specialist Asa Jackson to a reserve/future contract.
More football: Ravens coach John Harbaugh, his brother, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, and their coaching staffs will combine in an effort to create the "Greatest Football Clinic Ever" on March 10-12 in Ann Arbor, Mich. Tickets are $65 ($75 starting Tuesday). Former St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz, former Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer and Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin are among the keynote speakers.
Orioles: Utility man Joey Terdoslavich, who was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster when the Orioles re-signed Chris Davis, has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk. Terdoslavich, 27, was claimed off waivers from the Atlanta Braves on Jan. 8.
—Eduardo A. Encina