A field of 11 will line up in the final jewel of the 2020 Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico, which was pushed back 20 weeks due to the pandemic.
This year’s Preakness is a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Keeneland on Nov. 7.
Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Authentic was installed as the 9-5 morning line favorite. His trainer Bob Baffert is looking for a record eighth win in the Preakness. He is tied at seven for the most all-time with R. Wyndham Walden, who won his seventh in 1888.
Authentic has won five of his six career starts, the lone blemish on his record a runner up finish in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) on June 6.
The colt drew the nine post and will have the services of Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez.
Baffert will also saddle Thousand Words (6-1), who flipped in the paddock in the Kentucky Derby and was a late scratch. The colt has won four of his seven career starts, taking the Shared Belief at Del Mar on Aug. 1. The colt drew the five post with Florent Geroux in the irons.
Both have been stabled at Churchill Downs under the card of D. Wayne Lukas, who has liked what he has seen from the duo.
“From watching them and just being objective, they’re doing terrific,” Lukas said. “I think they’ve put on a little weight, which is very satisfying. Bob, I think, felt the same way. Obviously after the Derby, the winner was a little bit tucked up, which you’d expect going that far. But his energy level was unbelievable, and I think he’s put on 15, 20 pounds. We’re feeding them like Bob feeds them. But I think they’re just in the alfalfa a little bit, and the hay, and they’re just doing well.”
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Art Collector is the second choice on the morning line at 5-2. The Tom Drury trainee was forced to scratch from the Kentucky Derby.
Drury reported on Tuesday of Derby week that the colt, ““the colt nicked the bulb of his left front heel with a hind hoof while galloping Monday at Churchill.”
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The colt would have likely been the second choice in the wagering for the Run for the Roses. The colt has won four in a row, winning the Blue Grass (G2) and Ellis Park Derby in his last two outings.
The colt will break from the three post with Brian Hernandez Jr. in the irons.
Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen will saddle three contenders in the race—Excession (30-1) with Sheldon Russel aboard, Max Player (15-1) with jockey Paco Lopez and Pneumatic (20-1) with Joe Bravo getting the call.
The filly Swiss Skydiver (6-1) will take on the boys. The Ken McPeek trainee was the runner up in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) in her last outing. She has already taken on the boys, running second in the Blue Grass (G2) at Keeneland, beaten 3 ½ lengths by Art Collector.
“I know she will make the distance without any problem,” McPeek said. “I think she will like that racetrack. Of course, she has raced everywhere. Whatever racetrack she has raced over she has handled great. It was a tough call between racing against straight 3-year-olds or older fillies and mares or turf, which was briefly thought about. I think she will handle it fine.”
The Preakness has a 5:31 ET post time on Saturday and will be televised by NBC. First post on the card is 11:00am ET.