Mark Humphrey/Associated Press
The Triple Crown might not be in play in the 2020 Preakness, but there’s still a whole lot of money to be won.
An 11-horse field led by Kentucky Derby winner Authentic will be in competition for a share of a $1 million purse at Pimlico Race Track in Baltimore on Saturday.
The Preakness is the final jewel of the crown in a unique 2020 edition of the series. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Belmont became the first leg this year, while the Preakness was moved from its traditional middle spot to the finale.
Belmont winner Tiz the Law was not entered in this race. Instead, his connections have moved their focus to the Breeders’ Cup Classic. However, Authentic will look to become the 24th horse to win both the Derby and the Preakness.
Here’s a quick guide with everything you need to know to catch the final race.
Preakness 2020 Start Time and TV Schedule
Date: Saturday, Oct. 3
TV: NBC (Coverage starts at 4:30 p.m. ET)
Live Stream: NBCSports.com
Post Time: 6:45 p.m. ET
Prize Money: $1 million, per Preakness Stakes
Coverage for the race begins at 4:30 p.m. ET and includes undercard races such as the traditional Black-Eyed Susan Stakes and a graded stakes race for three-year-old fillies. However, the 1 3/16-mile Preakness will be the main event and features a strong field.
Post Positions and Odds
1. Excession 40-1
2. Mr. Big News 16-1
3. Art Collector 5-2
4. Swiss Skydiver 8-1
5. Thousand Words 8-1
6. Jesus’ Team 66-1
7. Ny Traffic 20-1
8. Max Player 20-1
9. Authentic 6-4
10. Pneumatic 25-1
11. Liveyourbeastlife 50-1
Odds via Oddschecker
Only 23 horses have won both the Derby and Preakness. Usually, that leads to a shot at the Triple Crown in the Belmont, but that’s not the case this year, as Tiz the Law won the Belmont in the first race of the series this year.
Authentic enters as the odds-on favorite to become the 24th horse to accomplish the feat. But he’ll have to navigate an 11-horse field that features some strong contenders primed to make a run at the Black-Eyed Susans.
The Kentucky Derby winner is expected to see a strong challenge from Thomas Drury-trained Art Collector. The colt was expected to be the second choice at the Derby before a minor foot injury forced Drury to scratch his horse from Churchill Downs.
Now he’ll get the opportunity to run him at the Preakness, where he’ll put his unbeaten streak on the line. He is four-for-four as a three-year-old, but winning a Triple Crown race would be a considerable step—his best win to date was the Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes.
As long as jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. has a good trip on the colt, we should get an early look at how the two compare in terms of speed. Both like to either set or chase the pace early. The question will be whether Art Collector has the endurance down the stretch to finish the job.
Finishing in second to Art Collector at the Blue Grass Stakes was filly Swiss Skydiver. She is the only filly entered in this year’s race and will look to become the first since Rachel Alexandra in 2009 to win in Baltimore.
Since that second-place finish, she has won the Alabama Stakes and put in a second-place finish behind Shedaresthedevil in the Kentucky Oaks. Trainer Ken McPeak has raced her a lot this year. This will be her ninth start of the year.
Thousand Words might not be up front at the beginning of the race. He doesn’t have the speed of fellow Baffert trainee Authentic, but he could break from the middle of the pack to challenge the pacesetters later on.
He won the Shared Belief Stakes in August but stumbled out of the gate in the Oaklawn Stakes back in April. A good enough start will be crucial for him to try to close the gap down the stretch.
Mr. Big News and Pneumatic are horses to watch with longer odds. Mr. Big News did well to boost his stock with a third-place finish in the Derby. He did so as a late closer who stormed from behind to get on the board. He’ll have a little less time to do that in the shorter Preakness, so duplicating his feat will be difficult, but you could do worse than backing him.
Pneumatic is a bit of an enigma who seems to be just coming into his own. He’s one of three horses trainer Steve Asmussen will enter in the race. Asmussen has two Preakness wins on his resume with Curlin (2007) and Rachel Alexandra (2009).
Asmussen has to be feeling good about Pneumatic’s progression throughout the year. After finishing fourth in the Belmont, he took a break and won the Pegasus Stakes in August. He reached an Equibase speed figure of 113 in that race, which is among the highest in the Preakness field.
He’ll be ridden by Joe Bravo, and if he can keep the colt in the middle of the pack just off the pace, Pneumatic may be able to make a thrilling run for the board down the final stretch.