Jeff Roberson/Associated Press
There will be no Triple Crown winner this year after Authentic defeated Tiz the Law at Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, but there could still be drama at the Preakness Stakes.
The COVID-19 pandemic created an adjusted schedule, with the Belmont Stakes becoming the first leg of the American Classics. It will all end in Pimlico on Oct. 3, an event that will be held without fans like the other two races.
The stretched schedule could help the top contenders while creating more rest between races, although some other challengers could surprise the field.
It will be a few weeks before we know the official entries, but here are early predictions for the upcoming event.
Preakness Stakes Picks
Win: Tiz the Law
Darron Cummings/Associated Press
A lot of people likely lost money on Tiz the Law at the Kentucky Derby as the odds-on favorite, but the horse will still be a top contender in every race it runs.
The three-year-old had won six of his previous seven races, including the Belmont and a dominant showing at the Travers Stakes in August. He performed well at Churchill Downs, running an even better time on the 1¼-mile race than his 5.5-length victory at the Travers Stakes.
Authentic was good enough to hold off Tiz the Law, but it won’t happen every time, and his owners at Sackatoga Stables are already looking ahead.
“Even though it didn’t turn out the way we hoped it would, certainly no shame in the race he ran,” Sackatoga’s managing partner Jack Knowlton said, via Matt Stahl of Horse Racing Nation. “He’ll be back. Hopefully he’ll come out of the race well and we’ll look to go onto Baltimore and hopefully win that and get some revenge.”
If Tiz the Law does enter the Preakness, he should again be the favorite with a chance to end the year back on top.
Place: Art Collector
Art Collector was considered one of the top challengers at the Kentucky Derby until a foot injury caused him to scratch. The good news is the horse should be back to full strength for the next race.
“Once we put the Derby behind us, our focus is on the Preakness and trying to get him there. That’s where my mindset is,” trainer Tommy Drury said, per Byron King of Bloodhorse. “The biggest reason I want to watch the Derby is I want to see who we have to run against in the Preakness.”
Drury added the horse returned to training Friday and is on track to compete at Pimlico.
At full strength, Art Collector is an elite runner who had wins in each of his last five starts, including the Blue Grass Stakes and the Ellis Park Derby.
This momentum could carry him to a finish in the money at the Preakness Stakes.
Pneumatic is another horse that skipped the Kentucky Derby, but this time it was by choice after competing at the Pegasus in August.
“He’s a big, heavy-framed horse, I don’t think anyone thinks a three-week turnaround was optimal for him,” said David Fiske, racing manager for owner Ron Winchell, via David Grening of Daily Racing Form. “Plan A would be to try and get him ready for Baltimore.”
Pneumatic impressed at the Pegasus, taking first place at Monmouth Park. This followed up a fourth-place finish at the Belmont Stakes in June.
The added rest could be beneficial going into October’s race against what could be a smaller field than usual with no Triple Crown on the line.
Trainer Steve Asmussen has won the Preakness twice in his career and should have the colt ready for the competitive race.