Preakness odds: Derby champ Authentic opens as 9-5 favorite


Kentucky Derby winner Authentic drew the No. 9 post in the 145th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico and opens as the 9-5 Preakness odds favorite.

The Bob Baffert-trained colt’s biggest competition could come from well rested Art Collector (5-2), who was hot on the Derby trail until a minor foot issue knocked him out of the race. Hall of Famer Baffert also fields Thousand Words (6-1), 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. Baffert has seven Preakness victories, tied with R. Wyndham Walden for most Preakness wins by a trainer. If either of his horses wins, he takes over the record on his own.

Related: Stream the 2020 Preakness Stakes on NBC

G1 Alabama Stakes winner Swiss Skydiver (6-1) 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. The last time a filly competed in the Preakness was Ria Antonia in 2014. She finished last of 10 horses.

Two-time Preakness Stakes winner Steve Asmussen (2007, 2009) runs three horses: 30-1 longshot Excession, top-5 Belmont and Derby finisher Max Player (15-1) and late bloomer Pneumatic (20-1).

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 and on the NBC Sports app. Post time is set for approximately 5:40 p.m. ET.

Related: What to know about the 2020 Preakness Stakes

Below are the post positions for the 2020 Preakness Stakes, including current Preakness odds as of Monday, Sept. 28.

1. Excession (30-1)
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Jockey: Sheldon Russell

2. Mr. Big News (12-1)
Trainer: Bret Calhoun
Jockey: Gabriel Saez

3. Art Collector (5-2)
Trainer: Tom Drury
Jockey: Brian Hernandez Jr.

4. Swiss Skydiver (6-1)
Trainer: Kenny McPeek
Jockey: Robby Albarado

5. Thousand Words (6-1)
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Florent Geroux

6. Jesus’ Team (30-1)
Trainer: Jose D’Angelo
Jockey: Jevian Toledo

7. Ny Traffic (15-1)
Trainer: Saffie Joseph Jr.
Jockey: Horacio Karamanos

8. Max Player (15-1)
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Jockey: Paco Lopez

9. Authentic (9-5)
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: John Velazquez

10. Pneumatic (20-1)
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Jockey: Joe Bravo

11. Liveyourbeastlife (30-1)
Trainer: Jorge Abreu
Jockey: Junior Alvarado

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

Churchill Downs moves meet to Ellis Park to examine protocols following 12 horse deaths

churchill downs
Michael Clevenger and Erik Mohn/USA TODAY NETWORK

Churchill Downs will suspend racing on Wednesday and move the remainder of its spring meet to Ellis Park in order to conduct a “top-to-bottom” review of safety and surface protocols in the wake of 12 horse fatalities the past month at the home of the Kentucky Derby.

No single factor has been identified as a potential cause for the fatalities or pattern detected, according to a release, but the decision was made to relocate the meet “in an abundance of caution.”

“What has happened at our track is deeply upsetting and absolutely unacceptable,” Churchill Downs Inc. CEO Bill Carstanjen said in Friday’s release. “We need to take more time to conduct a top-to-bottom review of all of the details and circumstances so that we can further strengthen our surface, safety and integrity protocols.”

Racing will continue at Churchill Downs through Sunday before shifting to the CDI-owned racing and gaming facility in Henderson, Kentucky. Ellis Park’s meet was scheduled to start July 7 and run through Aug. 27 but will now expand with Friday’s announcement.

Ellis Park will resume racing on June 10.

The move comes a day after track superintendent Dennis Moore conducted a second independent analysis of Churchill Downs’ racing and training surfaces as part of an emergency summit called this week by the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) with the track and the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. Meetings took place in Lexington, Kentucky, and at the Louisville track.

The head of the federally created oversight agency suggested ahead of the summit that it could recommend pausing the meet and that Churchill Downs would accept that recommendation.

Churchill Downs’ release stated that expert testing raised no concerns and concluded that the surface was consistent with the track’s prior measurements. Even so, it chose to relocate “in alignment” with HISA’s recommendation to suspend the meet to allow more time for additional investigation.

“We appreciate their thoughtfulness and cooperation through these challenging moments,” HISA CEO Lisa Lazarus said in a statement. “We will continue to seek answers and work with everyone involved to ensure that horses are running safely at Churchill Downs again in the near future.”

Carstanjen insisted that relocating the remainder of the spring meet to Ellis Park would maintain the industry ecosystem with minor disruption. He also said he was grateful to Kentucky horsemen for their support as they work to find answers.

Rick Hiles, the president of Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, questioned the move, especially since there’s no conclusive evidence that Churchill Downs’ surface is the problem.

“We all want to find solutions that will improve safety for horses,” Hiles said in a statement. “However, we need to discuss allowing trainers and veterinarians to use therapeutic medications that greatly lessen the risk of breakdowns.

“Drastic steps, such as relocating an active race meet, should only be considered when it is certain to make a difference.”

The latest development comes a day after Churchill Downs and HISA each implemented safety and performance standards to address the spate of deaths.

HISA will conduct additional post-entry screening of horses to identify those at increased risk for injury. Its Integrity and Welfare Unit also will collect blood and hair samples for all fatalities for use while investigating a cause.

Churchill Downs announced it would immediately limit horses to four starts during a rolling eight-week period and impose ineligibility standards for poor performers. The track is also pausing incentives, such as trainer start bonuses and limiting purse payouts to the top five finishers instead of every finisher.

Forte works out, waits for Belmont Stakes clearance


NEW YORK — Forte, the early Kentucky Derby favorite who was scratched on the day of the race, worked out in preparation for a possible start in the Belmont Stakes on June 10.

Under regular rider Irad Ortiz Jr., Forte worked five-eighths of a mile for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher. It was the colt’s second workout since being scratched from the Derby on May 6.

“It seems like he’s maintained his fitness level,” Pletcher said. “It seems like everything is in good order.”

Forte was placed on a mandatory 14-day veterinary list after being scratched from the Derby because of a bruised right front foot. In order to be removed from the list, the colt had to work in front of a state veterinarian and give a blood sample afterward, the results of which take five days.

“There’s protocols in place and we had to adhere to those and we’re happy that everything went smoothly,” Pletcher said. “We felt confident the horse was in good order or we wouldn’t have been out there twice in the last six days, but you still want to make sure everything went smoothly and we’re happy everything did go well.”

Pletcher said Kingsbarns, who finished 14th in the Kentucky Derby, will miss the Belmont. The colt is showing signs of colic, although he is fine, the trainer said.

Another Pletcher-trained horse, Prove Worthy, is under consideration for the Belmont. He also has Tapit Trice, who finished seventh in the Derby, being pointed toward the Belmont.