Preakness Stakes Rescheduled for Oct. 3

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The horses race through the stretch in the 2019 Preakness Stakes. (Eclipse Sportswire)

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced May 16 on NBC that the Preakness Stakes would take place Oct. 3 at Pimlico Race Course.

The Preakness, usually run as the second leg of the Triple Crown two weeks after the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve, was postponed earlier this year due to COVID-19, shortly after Churchill Downs officials pushed the date of the Derby until Sept. 5. This year there will be four weeks between the two races.

“These are not ordinary circumstances,” Hogan said. “However, I am proud to make this announcement on behalf of the state, the Maryland Jockey Club, and Maryland’s historic racing industry that Preakness 145 will be held at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md., on Oct. 3.”

Before Saturday, officials had not formally announced a new date for the 1 3/16-mile Preakness, though a fall date was anticipated. Last week, WBAL-TV, the NBC affiliate in Baltimore, reported the Preakness would be run Oct. 3. NBC televises the Triple Crown.

The Stronach Group, which operates Maryland Jockey Club racetracks Pimlico and Laurel Park in Maryland, issued a statement at that time that no definitive date had been set, stating, “we continue to explore options.”

Though TSG did not formally announce the date of the Preakness until 5:58 p.m ET Saturday, the Oct. 3 date became apparent earlier in the day when the race’s official website began advertising tickets for that date. 

“We all wish we could have been together today to celebrate the Preakness, but we stayed home and stayed safe and now we can look forward to Preakness 145 on Oct. 3,” Belinda Stronach, the chairman and president of TSG, said in a statement. “I would like to thank Gov. Hogan and all of the state and local leaders along with our industry stakeholders, racetrack communities and partners, including our broadcast partner NBC Sports, for the ongoing support and commitment to racing in Maryland.”

NBC Sports will broadcast of Preakness 145 beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET on Oct. 3. 

More details on Preakness 145 and the 96th Black-Eyed Susan Stakes will be released in the coming months. The Black-Eyed Susan, a stakes race for 3-year-old fillies, is usually run the day before the Preakness

Saturday’s announcement follows Hogan lifting the state’s stay-at-home order May 15, leaving racing positioned to resume in Maryland without spectators in the near future, potentially as early as May 22, according to email distributed this week from the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association.

The New York Racing Association, which operates Belmont Park, the track that hosts the Belmont Stakes, has yet to announced a modified race date for its classic. Customarily five weeks after the Derby, it was slated for June 6 this year prior to COVID-19 developments. NYRA communications director Patrick McKenna said last week that a determination on the timing of the Belmont would not be made until they “have clarity on the opening of the Belmont spring-summer meet.”

Those conditions could soon develop after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a Saturday press conference that racetracks in New York would be permitted to resume racing without fans effective as early as June 1.

Given the spotting of the Derby and Preakness and with the Breeders’ Cup scheduled for Nov. 6-7 at Keeneland, the Belmont Stakes retaining its position as the third and final leg of the Triple Crown this year may prove undesirable in scheduling for NYRA.

Triple Crown officials have said this year the race order could be altered. A change to the traditional 1 1/2-mile distance of the Belmont is also possible.

If racing can resume at Belmont Park in June, a late spring/early summer Belmont Stakes at a shorter distance could provide an option before racing at NYRA shifts to Saratoga Race Course July 16.

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