Preakness Stakes 2020 preview: What to know about Saturday’s race

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An uncertain and historic Triple Crown draws to a close in October, months after it would normally end.

The 2020 Preakness Stakes, which was moved from Saturday, May 16 to Saturday, Oct. 3 (NBC, 4:30 to 6 p.m. ET), will be the race’s 145th running. The $1 million race will also air live on NBCSports.com and on the NBC Sports app. Post time is set for approximately 5:40 p.m. ET.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no fans in the stands at the Preakness.

Kentucky Derby champ Authentic is expected to run in the Preakness even though there isn’t a Triple Crown on the line. His biggest competitor could come in the form of Louisville-based Art Collector, who was a major Derby contender before he was scratched just days before the race because of a minor foot issue. Authentic is the betting favorite.

Belmont Stakes winner Tiz the Law is bypassing the Preakness to rest up and prepare for the Breeders’ Cup Classic in November at Keeneland.

Related: Preakness Stakes odds and post positions

What is the Preakness Stakes?

The Preakness Stakes is traditionally the second leg of the American Triple Crown of horse racing, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Preakness concludes the three-race series this year.

Like the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes, it’s a Grade 1 Thoroughbred stakes races. The Preakness is 9.5 furlongs, or 1 3/16th miles long.

When is the 2020 Preakness Stakes?

The 145th Preakness Stakes is on Saturday, Oct. 3. Coverage begins on NBC, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app at 4:30 p.m. ET. Post time is set for approximately 5:40 p.m. ET.

Related: Stream the 2020 Preakness Stakes on NBC

Where is the 2020 Preakness Stakes? 

The Preakness is run on the dirt track at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. The race was first run in 1873 at Pimlico, but then moved to Morris Park Racecourse (now closed) in the Bronx, wasn’t run for three years, then jumped to Gravesend Race Track (also closed) at Coney Island before returning to Baltimore in 1909, where it’s stayed ever since.

How can I watch the 2020 Preakness Stakes?

NBC Sports is home to the 145th Preakness Stakes, providing comprehensive race coverage and analysis live on NBC, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app before, during and after the main event. Coverage begins at 4:30 p.m. ET. Click here for more info on how to watch.

Who are the horses to watch?

  • There’s no Triple Crown on the line, but Kentucky Derby champ Authentic is the early favorite in the 2020 Preakness. Trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, Authentic went wire-to-wire to hold off heavy betting favorite Tiz the Law. He also won the G1 Haskell in July and was second in the G1 Santa Anita Derby (his only career loss). He’s amassed almost $3 million in his six career starts. It’s been a roller coaster year for Baffert, but an Authentic win would be his eighth Preakness Stakes win, which would break his current tie with R. Wyndham Walden for all-time wins by a trainer.
  • Authentic’s biggest competition could come from the well rested Art Collector, who was hot on the Derby trail until a minor foot issue knocked him out. The colt, whose sire is 2006 Preakness Stakes winner Bernardini, is undefeated in his four starts this year, including the G2 Blue Grass at Keeneland in July and the Ellis Park Derby on Aug. 9. The year has been a Cinderella story of sorts for his trainer Tom Drury, a Louisville native who wasn’t even supposed to be Art Collector’s full-time trainer. Art Collector’s Blue Grass Stakes win was Drury’s first graded stakes win (which was later celebrated with beer and frozen pizza).
  • G1 Alabama Stakes winner Swiss Skydiver looks to become the first filly to win the Preakness since Rachel Alexandra in 2009. Only five fillies have won the Preakness in the race’s 144 editions, and was Ria Antonia (2014) was the last filly to run in the race. Swiss Skydiver finished second in the 2020 Kentucky Oaks behind upset winner Shedaresthedevil and also took second in the Blue Grass after Art Collector in a field of colts. Purchased for a mere $35,000, she has already earned over $1.1 million in her nine starts this year.
  • Baffert also fields Thousand Words, who was a last moment scratch in the Derby after he flipped himself over in the saddling area. He quickly got up on his own and a vet exam determined nothing had been injured or damaged during the incident. The inconsistent colt came at a whopping $1 million and had a strong start to his career and then went on a three-race skid before winning the Shared Belief on Aug. 1 and re-entering the Derby picture.
  • Mr. Big News got an odds boost after finishing third in the Kentucky Derby at 46-1. The Giant’s Causeway colt only has two career wins but enters the Preakness with 12-1 odds. This will be the first Preakness for trainer Bret Calhoun.
  • Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen has a pair of Preakness Stakes wins with Curlin in 2007 and Rachel Alexandra in 2009. Both horses are now in the Hall of Fame. This year, Asmussen goes for lucky win number three and brings an eclectic trio to Pimlico: 30-1 longshot Excession, top-5 Belmont and Derby finisher Max Player and late bloomer Pneumatic.

Who won the 2019 Preakness Stakes?

Gary Barber’s colt War of Will won the 144th Preakness Stakes just two weeks after being majorly impeded by Maximum Security in the 145th Kentucky Derby. With now-Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse and jockey Tyler Gaffalione, War of Will ran in all three Triple Crown races last year, finishing 7th in the Derby and 9th in the Belmont.

He went on to finish an underwhelming 9th in the Breeders’ Cup Classic last fall at Santa Anita before jumping from the dirt to the turf (grass) and focusing on the mile division. In July of 2020, he won the Grade 1 Maker’s Mark Mile at Keeneland. Don’t be surprised if he makes an appearance in the Breeders’ Cup Mile in November.

What comes after the Preakness Stakes? 

The world’s best horses—not just the 3-year-olds that compete in the Triple Crown—will head to Keeneland in Lexington, Ky. for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships on Nov. 6 and 7. Though the event will be run without spectators, which has become standard for the industry during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Breeders’ Cup will return to Lexington again in 2022.

Watch the Preakness Stakes 2020 on Saturday, Oct. 3 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. ET on NBC, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.