by Jeremy Plonk
September 28, 2020
The final jewel in the 2020 Triple Crown assembled a field of 11 Monday, led by Kentucky Derby victor AUTHENTIC. The 145th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico headlines a dozen races Saturday at Old Hilltop, all stakes. AUTHENTIC and stablemate THOUSAND WORDS seek to give trainer Bob Baffert a record-breaking eighth career win in the Preakness, while SWISS SKYDIVER will try to become just the second filly to win this race since 1924.
AUTHENTIC won the Kentucky Derby wire-to-wire and his Preakness post 9 is a favorable draw given his pace style, his jockey and where the others have drawn. Jockey John Velazquez aboard Authentic loves to stay a few paths off the rail with speed horses and force others wider around him. Potential pace players ART COLLECTOR, SWISS SKYDIVER and THOUSAND WORDS (who races with blinkers on) are new to the Triple Crown series and all line up together in posts 3-5.
It’s good news that AUTHENTIC wasn’t stuck inside all of that heat. NY TRAFFIC chased AUTHENTIC to no avail in the Haskell and Kentucky Derby, but can be counted on for some pressing presence from post 7.
There is potential for the trip to offer challenges to AUTHENTIC if that inside speed hooks up and riders get aggressive. AUTHENTIC could lose some ground on the clubhouse turn or be forced to either expend more energy to clear or decide to tuck in behind the speed. That scenario after a poor break in the Santa Anita Derby resulted in his only career loss. The late additions to this field of SWISS SKYDIVER and NY TRAFFIC certainly have the ability to increase the previously expected Preakness pace.
Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions to and from major racing jurisdictions, several Maryland-based jockeys will be in the Preakness spotlight.
The full field for Preakness 145 with track linemaker Keith Feustle’s morning line odds:
1 // EXCESSION (Sheldon Russell) 30-1
2 // MR. BIG NEWS (Gabriel Saez) 12-1
3 // ART COLLECTOR (Brian Hernandez Jr.) 5-2
4 // SWISS SKYDIVER (Robby Albarado) 6-1
5 // THOUSAND WORDS (Florent Geroux) 6-1
6 // JESUS' TEAM (Jevian Toledo) 30-1
7 // NY TRAFFIC (Horacio Karamanos) 15-1
8 // MAX PLAYER (Paco Lopez) 15-1
9 // AUTHENTIC (John Velazquez) 9-5
10 // PNEUMATIC (Joe Bravo) 20-1
11 // LIVEYOURBEASTLIFE (Trevor McCarthy) 30-1