Triple Crown schedule 2020: New dates, order, results for Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont horse races

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For the first time in history, the Belmont Stakes ran as the first race in the Triple Crown. The order for 2020 is Belmont Stakes first, Kentucky Derby second and Preakness Stakes last. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Triple Crown 2020 schedule was turned upside down, with the Kentucky Derby moving from May 2 to September 5, the Preakness Stakes shifting from May 16 to October 3 and the Belmont Stakes shifting from June 6 to June 20.

Not only is this the first time the Triple Crown will run in this order, but the turnaround time between each race is also significantly different. Usually, the Kentucky Derby is held on the first Saturday in May, the Preakness Stakes comes two weeks after that and the Belmont Stakes closes out the series three weeks after that. Because the training and prep of racehorses around the world has been disrupted because of the pandemic, the Belmont Stakes, typically the longest of the three races, was shortened from 1 1/2-miles (12 furlongs) to 1 1/8-miles (9 furlongs).

Tiz the Law easily handled a small Belmont Stakes field. He entered the Kentucky Derby as the overwhelming favorite after adding a Travers Stakes win to his resume, but Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s Authentic outlasted a furious stretch duel with Tiz the Law to win the 146th Derby.

Authentic returns to the Triple Crown scene in the Preakness on Oct. 3 (NBC, 4:30 to 6 p.m. ET) but Tiz the Law’s camp is saving him for the Breeders’ Cup Classic in November. Art Collector, a promising Kentucky Derby campaigner who was scratched with a minor injury several days before the Derby, could prove to be Authentic’s biggest competition, and powerhouse filly Swiss Skydiver becomes the first filly to run in the Preakness since 2014.

Who was the last Triple Crown winner?

The most recent Triple Crown winner was Justify, trained by Baffert and ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, in 2018. His win came just three years after Baffert’s American Pharoah won the Triple Crown.

Triple Crown 2020 order:

  1. Belmont Stakes (moved from June 6 to June 20, traditionally last). Winner: Tiz the Law
  2. Kentucky Derby (moved from May 2 to September 5, traditionally first). Winner: Authentic
  3. Preakness Stakes (moved from May 16 to October 3, traditionally second)

Past Triple Crown winners: 

  • Sir Barton (1919)
  • Gallant Fox (1930)
  • Omaha (1935)
  • War Admiral (1937)
  • Whirlaway (1941)
  • Count Fleet (1943)
  • Assault (1946)
  • Citation (1948)
  • Secretariat (1973)
  • Seattle Slew (1977)
  • Affirmed (1978)
  • American Pharoah (2015)
  • Justify (2018)

Watch the 2020 Preakness Stakes on Saturday, Oct. 3 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. ET on NBC, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. Post time is set for approximately 5:40 p.m. ET. 

Appeals court strikes down federal horseracing rules act

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NEW ORLEANS — Congress unconstitutionally gave too much power to a nonprofit authority it created in 2020 to develop and enforce horseracing rules, a federal appeals court in New Orleans ruled Friday.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, or HISA, is “facially unconstitutional.”

The authority created by the act was meant to bring uniform policies and enforcement to horseracing amid doping scandals and racetrack horse deaths. But the 5th Circuit – in two rulings issued Friday – ruled in favor of opponents of the act in lawsuits brought by horseracing associations and state officials in Texas, Louisiana and West Virginia.

The Federal Trade Commission has the ultimate authority to approve or reject HISA regulations, but it can’t modify them. And the authority can reject proposed modifications.

Three 5th Circuit judges agreed with opponents of the act – including the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and similar groups in multiple states – that the setup gave too much power to the nongovernmental authority and too little to the FTC.

“A cardinal constitutional principle is that federal power can be wielded only by the federal government. Private entities may do so only if they are subordinate to an agency,” Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan wrote for the panel that ruled in the Texas case.

The same panel, which also included judges Carolyn Dineen King and Kurt Engelhardt, cited the Texas ruling in a separate order in favor of horseracing interests and regulators challenging HISA in a different case.

The chair of the horseracing authority’s board of directors said it would ask for further court review. Friday’s ruling could be appealed to the full 5th Circuit court of the Supreme Court.

“If today’s ruling were to stand, it would not go into effect until January 10, 2023 at the earliest,” Charles Scheeler said in an email. “We are focused on continuing our critical work to protect the safety and integrity of Thoroughbred racing, including the launch of HISA’s Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program on January 1, 2023.”

The ruling was criticized by Marty Irby, executive director of the Animal Wellness Action organization. “Over the course of three Congresses, the most brilliant legal minds on Capitol Hill addressed the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act’s constitutionality and ultimately decided that the Federal Trade Commission’s limited oversight was sufficient,” Irby said in an email.

Among the subjects covered by the authority’s rules and enforcement were jockey safety (including a national concussion protocol), the riding crop and how often riders can use it during a race, racetrack accreditation, and the reporting of training and veterinary records.

Animal rights groups, who supported the law, pointed to scandals in the industry involving medication and the treatment of horses.

Duncan wrote that in declaring HISA unconstitutional, “we do not question Congress’s judgment about problems in the horseracing industry. That political call falls outside our lane.”

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, hailed the ruling on Twitter, calling HISA a “federal takeover of Louisiana horse racing.”

Fractional interest in Flightline sells for $4.6 million

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Keeneland says a 2.5% fractional interest in Breeders’ Cup Classic champion Flightline has sold for $4.6 million during a special auction before the start of its November Breeding Stock Sale.

Brookdale Farm’s Freddy Seitz signed the ticket for an undisclosed client, the track announced in a release. The sale comes a day after ownership of the 4-year-old son of Tapit retired the unbeaten colt following his record 8\-length victory in Saturday’s $6 million, Grade 1 Classic at Keeneland. Flightline likely locked up Horse of the Year honors with his fourth Grade 1 victory in six starts by a combined victory margin of 71 lengths – dominance that has drawn comparisons to legendary Triple Crown champion Secretariat.

Flightline will begin his breeding career next year at Lane’s End Farms in Versailles, Kentucky, but a stud fee has yet to be determined. West Point Thoroughbreds, part of the bay colt’s ownership, offered the fractional interest. Seitz said the buyer wanted to “make a big splash” and get more involved in the business.

“With a special horse like (Flightline) all you can do is get involved and then just hope for the best,” Seitz said in the release.

“There has never been a horse that has done what he has done for however many years, back to Secretariat. You just have to pay up and get involved, and this is kind of what he’s thinking.”