Look, for horse racing fanatics like me, it’s never too early to talk triple crown.

But the fact is, the early nomination deadline for the 2010 races is Jan. 16.

Representatives from the three tracks will be at racing venues across the country signing up potential runners for the classic races, prior to the closing of the nomination period.

Covering prospective nominees in South Florida will be Don Richardson, Churchill Downs Inc. senior vice president; Ben Huffman, director of racing, racing secretary at Churchill Downs; Coley Blind, Pimlico stakes coordinator; P.J. Campo, vice president, director of racing and racing secretary for New York Racing Association. Gene Williams, representing Churchill Downs, will accept nominations in Southern California, while Jason Boulet, director of racing, racing secretary at Fair Grounds, will take nominations at his home track. Sandy Montgomery of Churchill Downs will sign up horses at Oaklawn Park, and Allison DeLuca, director of racing at Tampa Bay Downs, will handle nominations at that Florida track.

Payment of fees can be paid by check or credit card.

A late-nomination period, with a fee $6,000 per horse, closes March 27.

The Triple Crown, which hasn’t been claimed since Affirmed’s sweep of the three races in 1978, begins May 1 with the Kentucky Derby 136 at Churchill Downs, moves on to Pimlico on May 15 for the 135th Preakness, and closes with the 142nd Belmont Stakes June 5 at Belmont Park.

Can’t wait for this year’s races. Can’t wait to see which horses will excite crowds and give us all hope that we might live to see a triple crown winner, at last, this year.

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