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2020 Preakness Stakes Selections
The Preakness Stakes at Pimlico
Get the all-inclusive full card and betting guide to the 2020 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on October 3, 2020! Features in-depth analysis of all 12 stakes races, PLUS get bonus multi-race betting suggestions for the entire Pimlico Saturday card! But that’s not all! Get Top stakes picks from the expert handicapper at The Wizard.
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What is the Preakness?
Typically viewed as the middle jewel of the traditional Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes is usually run between the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May and the Belmont on the second Saturday in June. It takes place at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, MD.
In most years, the Preakness takes place on the third Saturday in May. In its modern era, it has become the building block of many a would-be Triple Crown winner, and horse racing fans eagerly watch how winners of the Derby fare during the gap between the two races to see if another legend is in the making.
Known as the “Run for the Black-Eyed Susans” in honor of the winner’s blanket and Maryland’s state flower, the Grade I Preakness, at a mile and three-sixteenths, is slightly shorter than the Kentucky Derby (1 ¼ mile) and significantly shorter than the Belmont (1 ½ mile.)
2020 Preakness Stakes
The 2020 edition is the 145th running of the Preakness Stakes. Post time is projected for 6:20 PM Eastern Time. Coverage will take place on NBCSN beginning at 2 PM, then switch to NBC at 5 PM. The Preakness will also be live-streamed on the NBC Sports app.
Post positions were drawn for this year’s Preakness on September 28. The favorite is currently the Derby champion, Authentic, who will break from the outside, in the 9th position of 11 entrants. His trainer, Bob Baffert, has announced that the colt will wear a small set of blinkers, although he did not wear any in the Kentucky Derby.
In his pedigree, Authentic has such champions as Native Dancer, Storm Cat, and Triple Crown winners Secretariat and Affirmed. While other members of his family tree might be less known to the general public, they tend towards good speed.
Here is the current field of the 2020 Preakness, along with odds after the post draw:
- Excession, 30-1, a son of Union Rags
- Mr. Big News, 12-1, winner of the Oaklawn Stakes and third in the Kentucky Derby
- Art Collector, 5-2, a disappointing scratch from the Kentucky Derby and winner of the Blue Grass Stakes
- Swiss Skydiver, 6-1, a filly who won the Alabama Stakes
- Thousand Words, 6-1, another Bob Baffert trainee, currently most famous as a last-second withdrawal from the Kentucky Derby after flipping in the paddock
- Jesus’ Team, 30-1, who made his way into the Preakness with a substantial collection of runner-up positions but no significant wins… yet
- Ny Traffic, 15-1, who ran just behind Authentic in the Haskell Invitational Stakes and 8th in the Kentucky Derby, in which he sustained minor injuries
- Max Player, 15-1, a Steve Asmussen-trained colt who finished third in the Belmont, fifth in the Kentucky Derby, and third in the Travers Stakes (which was won by Belmont champ Tiz the Law.)
- Authentic, 9-5, the favorite and so far defeated only in the Santa Anita Derby
- Pneumatic, 20-1, an exciting part of a Steve Asmussen-Joe Bravo team who won the Pegasus Stakes and finished fourth in the Belmont.
- Liveyourbeastlife, 30-1, perhaps the best-named horse in the field and the son of Ghostzapper. Can he hang with this field?
Pimlico, the Preakness Stakes Racetrack of 2020
Pimlico is most famous as the home of the Preakness. A small rise of terrain in the infield has given it the nickname of “Old Hilltop.” Named for a London tavern by British colonists, Pimlico began hosting racing in 1870 and is located in Baltimore’s urban area.
When its infield is open, Pimlico can hold 120,000 fans. It’s also home to the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (Grade II) and the Pimlico Special (Grade III.)
Its dirt track runs a mile. On the inside of it is a turf course, which is 7/8 of a mile.
Recently, Pimlico has become a site for concerts and other events. Racing enthusiasts have been concerned about Pimlico’s physical state for some time; Baltimore has suffered a great deal of urban decay, and the track itself is in great need of repair.
The track’s Old Grandstand was closed in 2019 because its owners were warned that it might not safely hold a Preakness-sized crowd. This past May, local government entities came together to finance the fixes. Reportedly, the Old Grandstand will be completely demolished and replaced.
Understanding the Preakness Stakes
Correctly predicting the winner of the $1 million Preakness is considered by some of the Triple Crown’s most “pure display” of handicapping. The overcrowded Derby contains many variables of chance and weather.
Belmont is often a test of stamina more than any other quality. However, strategy and past performance must be taken into consideration to intelligently bet this “The People’s Race.” It usually provides an exciting rematch between Kentucky Derby combatants and “new” entrants who skipped the Derby in favor of the Preakness.
Along with much else in Western sports, the Triple Crown has been disrupted this year into an almost unrecognizable jumble. Although all three races will at least occur, they are doing so in non-traditional order and even in the Belmont case, at different lengths.
While horseplayers are relieved to see the three-year-old colts in the gates, the specter of measuring a 2020 Triple Crown winner against his or her predecessors promised to raise controversy.
Almost to some Thoroughbred traditionalists’ relief, the first two 2020 Triple Crown races did not yield the same winner. Tiz the Law won the Belmont Stakes on June 20, 2020, and Authentic took the Run for the Roses on September 5, 2020.
Schedule shuffling leaves the usual “fulcrum point” of the season as its conclusion, and while Authentic has been entered, Tiz the Law’s connections announced last week that the champion of the Belmont will not run. He is reportedly pointing towards the 2020 Boulders’ Cup Classic on November 7 instead.
Preakness Stakes Qualifier and Why It Matters
The Preakness is open to three-year-olds in a field limited to 14. One berth is traditionally held for the winner of the Kentucky Derby. This year, that colt, Affirmed, is accepting the invitation.
The entry fee is $15,000, but it takes more than that to secure a place in the gate. A committee of industry experts culls the field if necessary. The entrants’ performances in graded stakes races, typically those connected with the Kentucky Derby, are considered.
The Derby itself is considered the ultimate Preakness prep. Other important events include the Kentucky Oaks, the Oaklawn Invitational, the Illinois Derby, and the El Camino Real Derby.
Preakness Stakes History
The Preakness Stakes outdates the Kentucky Derby. It came into existence at Pimlico’s first spring meet in 1873 and was named for the colt who won the track’s first major event, the Dinner Party Stakes, on the facility’s opening day. While the race has bounced to various race tracks and sometimes took place as a handicap event, it settled into its current Triple Crown format in 1932.
Traditions surrounding the Preakness involve singing the state song by the United States Naval Academy Glee Club, “Maryland, My Maryland,” followed by the National Anthem. Once the race is official, the winner’s silks are painted on a weather vane located in the winner’s circle.
The Preakness Stakes’ winner’s owner is presented with a replica of the Woodland Vase, which was a “circulating trophy” until the early 1950s. The Vase is now kept at the Baltimore Museum of Art, except for Preakness Day, when the Maryland Army National Guard escorts it to Pimlico for display in the winner’s circle.
2019 Preakness Stakes Review
Although it seems as though it happened quite a long time ago, the 2019 Preakness Stakes generated little buzz with the general public even when it took place. Neither the declared winner of the Kentucky Derby, Country House, was entered, nor was his Derby-disqualified field mate, Maximum Security.
Not only was there no Triple Crown winner possible in 2019, but the other colts who finished in the money at the Derby (Code of Honor and Tacticus) were also missing from the Preakness.
These conditions, however, made for exciting betting. With most of the usual favorites cleared, an usually large crop of “new shooters” entered. As was the case with the Kentucky Derby, the 2019 Preakness had its bizarre moments. Bodexpress dumped his jockey, John Velasquez, at the start and ran happily along with the rest of the field until an outrider captured him.
The fact that he crossed the finish line minus his jockey disqualified the entry, but the odd moment made him a star nonetheless on social media.
The 2019 edition of the Pimlico was also unfortunately memorable for Pimlico’s miserable conditions, which unfolded throughout the day. Most of the ladies’ rooms in the grandstand were closed, and overflowing toilets plagued the men’s bathrooms.
Attendance was down at Pimlico, but perhaps due to the open field, betting was up. The track was rated fast. The favorite for the Preakness was Improbable at 5-2, but he finished 6th. The eventual winner was War of Will.
Here’s the finish for the 2019 Preakness:
- War of Will, ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, trained by Mark E. Casse, owned by Gary Barber, final odds 6.10
- Warrior’s Charge
- Laughing Fox
- Win Win Win
- Bourbon War
- Market King
- DNF: Bodnexpress
The Preakness Is Here!
In a year in which sports fans must appreciate whatever is offered, however, it’s offered, it will be a pleasure to see the fine Authentic run against a somewhat different set of contenders at Pimlico.
His strong performance in the Kentucky Derby shows him to be a quality colt, and betting against legendary trainer Bob Baffert is rarely a good idea. The mainstream press always enjoys a filly in the field, too.
Authentic has been training at Churchill Downs in Louisville. The four weeks of “bounceback” he has enjoyed since the Derby’s conclusion should make for an exciting showdown. If we can’t be present for making a legend, we can at least take part in “the history of the new,” and that’s sure to take place in the Preakness on Saturday.