What to know about the 2021 Preakness Stakes: Start time, Medina Spirit odds, live stream, TV

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The Preakness Stakes reclaims its traditional second spot in the Triple Crown this year for its 146th running after an October edition in 2020.

The 2021 Preakness Stakes will air on Saturday, May 15 from 2 to 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN and from 5 to 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC. Coverage is also available to stream live on NBCSports.com and on the NBC Sports app.

Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit opens as the 9-5 morning-line favorite after Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert agreed to “rigorous” conditions set by The Stronach Group and the Maryland Jockey Club.

On Sunday, May 9, Baffert announced that Medina Spirit had 21 picograms of the steroid betamethasone in a postrace drug test. Since last fall, using any steroids within 14 days before a race is prohibited in Kentucky. Baffert initially said the horse had never been treated with the drug, 14 days prior or otherwise.

The Baffert camp requested a second test called a split sample. Churchill Downs slapped him with an immediate suspension from running any horses at the track, adding that, “if the findings are upheld, Medina Spirit’s results in the Kentucky Derby will be invalidated and Mandaloun will be declared the winner.”

On Tuesday morning, Baffert said Medina Spirit had been treated for dermatitis on his hind end with a topical ointment called Otomax, which contains betamethasone. The conditions Baffert agreed to include “rigorous testing and monitoring” and a “commitment from Bob Baffert to full transparency of medical and testing results that will allow for all results to be released to the public.”

Related: How to watch the 2021 Preakness Stakes

A limited crowd of up to 10,000 is expected to attend the Preakness while following social distancing guidelines.

NBC Sports will also air the Black-Eyed Susan the day before on Friday, May 14 from 5 to 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

What is the Preakness Stakes?

The Preakness Stakes is the second leg of the American Triple Crown of horse racing. Like the Kentucky Derby, it’s a Grade I Thoroughbred stakes races. The Preakness is 9.5 furlongs, or 1 3/16th miles long.

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, and then jumped to Gravesend Race Track (also closed) at Coney Island before returning to Baltimore in 1909, where it’s stayed ever since.

It is traditionally run in mid May, two weeks after the Kentucky Derby. However, the 2020 race was moved from Saturday, May 16 to Saturday, October 3.

When is the 2021 Preakness Stakes?

The 146th Preakness Stakes is on Saturday, May 15. Coverage begins on NBCSN, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app at 2 p.m. ET and will move from NBCSN to NBC at 5 p.m. ET.

Post time for the 2021 Preakness Stakes is set for approximately 6:50 p.m. ET.

Where is the 2021 Preakness Stakes? 

The Preakness Stakes is run at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, MD.

How can I watch the 2021 Preakness Stakes?

NBC Sports is home to the 146th Preakness Stakes, providing comprehensive race coverage and analysis live on NBC, NBCSN, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app before, during and after the main event. Coverage begins at 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN and moves over to NBC at 5 p.m. ET.

What’s the difference between the Preakness Stakes and the Kentucky Derby?

The Kentucky Derby may be slightly older and more well-known, but the Preakness is distinct for several reasons. The field is often smaller (10 in this year’s Preakness as opposed to a field of 20 in the Derby), and the distance is half a furlong shorter. But for any horse who just ran in the Derby, the two week turnaround time is the ultimate challenge.

In a non-COVID year, the Preakness is also home to a raucous infield and the annual ‘InfieldFest‘ mini music festival right in the middle of all the action.

This year, Pimlico will debut Preakness LIVE, a “safe, socially distant and more intimate live audience experience.” The front rows of the event will be reserved for first responders and frontline workers. DJ D-Nice, Grammy winner 2 Chainz and rising rapper Jack Harlow will perform.

Who won the 2020 Preakness Stakes?

Last year, Kenny McPeek’s Swiss Skydiver became the sixth filly in history to win the Preakness Stakes when she outlasted 2020 Kentucky Derby champ and eventual Horse of the Year Authentic in a furious chase to the wire.

NBC Sports’ additional Triple Crown coverage: 

  • Saturday, June 5: 153rd Belmont Stakes

Watch the Preakness on Saturday, May 15 from 2 to 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN and from 5 to 7:15 p.m. ET on NBC. Coverage is also available on NBCSports.com and on the NBC Sports app. 

Flightline, Pletcher, Godolphin lead way at Eclipse Awards

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Pat McDonogh/USA TODAY NETWORK
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PALM BEACH, Fla. — Flightline ran away in all six of his races, and ran away with top honors at the Eclipse Awards on Thursday night.

And trainer Todd Pletcher, for the first time in nearly a decade, received the sport’s top prize as well.

Flightline – the now-retired winner of last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic to cap an unbeaten six-race career – won Horse of the Year as well as the Eclipse as top Older Dirt Male. It was no surprise that Flightline took home both awards, and he’s now standing stud.

“We’ll hope that his future is as bright as his past,” co-owner Kosta Hronis said.

Godolphin was also a double winner, sweeping the Eclipses as top owner and top breeder for the second consecutive year. It was also the third consecutive top-owner Eclipse for Godolphin.

“This is truly a golden era for Godolphin racing,” said Michael Banahan, the stable’s director of bloodstock. “And these awards and accolades recognize how special it is.”

It was Pletcher’s eighth Eclipse, extending his record for the most by any trainer, and his first since 2014. It was one of the few close races in the voting; Pletcher got 108 first-place votes, while four-time Eclipse winner Chad Brown got 95 and finished second.

“This really is not an individual award. This is a team award,” Pletcher said. “This is an award about the owners, and most importantly, the horses.”

Irad Ortiz Jr. won the Eclipse as top jockey for the fourth time in the last five years; he tied Pat Day and Javier Castellano for third-most in history, behind only seven-time winner Jerry Bailey and five-time winner Laffit Pincay Jr.

Ortiz led all jockeys with more than $37 million in purses in 2022.

“Wow,” Ortiz said. “It’s been an amazing year for me.”

Forte won the Eclipse as 2-year-old male, and will enter this year’s Triple Crown season as one of the early favorites.

“We’re all in this game for a horse like Forte,” said Mike Repole, the horse’s co-owner along with Florida Panthers owner Vincent Viola and Teresa Viola. “We’re all in this game to one day maybe own a 2-year-old that has a chance. It’s great to have the Kentucky Derby favorite. … Forte’s an incredible horse.”

Epicenter won the 3-year-old male Eclipse, after running second at both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, then winning the Jim Dandy and Travers at Saratoga over the summer.

Wonder Wheel was the winner as 2-year-old filly, while Nest won the Eclipse in the 3-year-old filly division. Malathaat was the Eclipse winner for older dirt female, Goodnight Olive for female sprinter and Regal Glory for female turf horse.

Elite Power was picked as the top male sprinter, Modern Games won the Eclipse for male turf horse, and Hewick was the Eclipse winner in the steeplechase division.

Jose Antonio Gomez won as top apprentice jockey.

The Eclipse Awards are voted on by members of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, the Daily Racing Form and National Turf Writers And Broadcasters.

Trainer Bob Baffert’s ban from racing in New York is over

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Courier Journal/USA TODAY Sports
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Bob Baffert can once again enter horses at New York’s major tracks.

The Hall of Fame trainer’s one-year ban by the New York Racing Association ended Wednesday, allowing him to enter horses as soon as Thursday.

“I was disappointed they even did it, but it’s water under the bridge,” Baffert told The Associated Press by phone.

He was suspended last June for repeated medication violations, although none of them occurred in New York. He was barred from Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga. A panel credited Baffert for time served for an initial suspension, which allowed him to return this week.

Aqueduct is currently holding its 44-day winter meet that runs through March 26. Baffert doesn’t typically run horses this time of year in New York; he targets the biggest stakes races at Belmont in the spring and Saratoga in the summer.

Baffert remains under a two-year ban by Churchill Downs Inc., which sidelined him after Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit tested positive for a substance that is not allowed on race day. The penalty expires shortly after the Kentucky Derby in May. However, Baffert is fighting the suspension in federal court.

The Southern California-based trainer has a big weekend coming up around the country, although not in New York.

He has horses running at three tracks on Saturday.

Defunded is entered in the $3 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream in Florida, where Baffert assistant Jimmy Barnes will be on hand.

Arabian Knight goes into the $750,000 Southwest Stakes as the early favorite at Oaklawn in Arkansas. Baffert has won the Kentucky Derby prep race a record-tying five times and will travel to Hot Springs to watch the 3-year-old colt.

“It’s going to be a good test for him. The only way to find out is to run him long,” he said. “It’s going to take a superior horse to do that and I’m hoping that he is.”

The Southwest offers Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top five finishers. Arabian Knight won’t receive any points regardless of his placing because of Baffert’s Derby ban.

Hopper will run in the $200,000 San Pasqual Stakes on Saturday at Santa Anita.

On Sunday at the same track, Baffert has entered four of the five horses set to run in the $200,000 San Vicente Stakes for 3-year-olds.