Derby Winner Authentic Leads Deep Field of 11 in Preakness Stakes

Posted on: October 3, 2020, 09:11h. 

Last updated on: October 6, 2020, 12:09h.

Kentucky Derby winner Authentic looks to capture his second Triple Crown race in as many months, as the Bob Baffert-trained colt leads a field of 11 in Saturday’s running of the Preakness Stakes at Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course.

Authentic Preakness
Authentic (right) holds off favorite Tiz the Law in last month’s Kentucky Derby. The Bob Baffert-trained colt will likely be the favorite in Saturday’s running of the Preakness Stakes. (Image: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Authentic drew the ninth gate and was installed as the 9-5 favorite in the morning line odds. He won’t face off again against Belmont Stakes winner Tiz the Law, who he held off down the stretch four weeks ago to give Baffert his sixth Derby winner.

Either Authentic or Thousand Words could give the Hall of Fame trainer his eighth Preakness victory. But unlike the Derby, the Preakness field will be smaller in number, but deeper in quality.

Besides Thousand Words, who was scratched minutes before post time because of an incident as he neared the Churchill Downs paddock, Authentic will have to contend with Art Collector, a promising colt who also was pulled from the Derby just before the post position draw, and filly Swiss Skydiver. She finished second in last month’s Kentucky Oaks, but has shown the ability to run with the boys, as she ran second behind Art Collector in July’s Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland.

Post time for the race is 5:45 pm ET. NBC will broadcast the race to a national television audience.

Baffert “Feels Pressure” with Authentic

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Triple Crown schedule has been thrown off completely. The Belmont stayed in June, but ran a couple weeks late. The Kentucky Derby moved from the first Saturday in May to Labor Day weekend, and the Preakness moved from its traditional date two weeks behind the Derby to a month after.

Baffert said he’s lost Kentucky Derbies when he’s had the best horse, but never the Preakness. He feels he has the best horse in this year’s Preakness with Authentic.

He would have been ready to roll in two weeks,” Baffert said. “I feel pressure now because I never lost a Preakness with a horse I won the Derby with. Now the pressure’s on me.”

Art Collector should supply plenty of that pressure. Trained by Tommy Drury, he’s won his last five races by more than 23 lengths. He’ll be ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr.

“I’ve just told him to ride as it comes to him,” Drury said. “By doing that, he’s gotten several different trips. That’s where having a horse that’s versatile enough that he will allow you to do that is very beneficial.”

Art Collector will break from the third post. He has morning-line odds of 5-2.

McPeek Believes Filly Swiss Skydiver Can Compete

Swiss Skydiver is seeking to become just the sixth filly to win the Triple Crown race and the first since Rachel Alexandra 11 years ago.

She, along with Thousand Words, are the co-third choices at 6-1. They will break from the fourth and fifth gates, respectively.

Trained by Kenny McPeek, Swiss Skydiver has raced in seven straight graded stakes races and finished in the money in all of them. That includes four victories.

McPeek said he’s not sure it’s that big a deal for a filly to race against colts, even in a Classic race like the Preakness.

“Here it seems to be more of a big deal. But for the most part, when you bring a good one into the game, it doesn’t matter.”

The field for the Preakness and morning-line odds can be found here.