Sunday afternoon, a unique Triple Crown came to an end with the Preakness Stakes. Traditionally the middle jewel in the fan-favorite horse racing series, the Preakness Stakes moved to the back of the schedule due to COVID-19. However, the changes did not disrupt Swiss Skydiver, who raced to victory on Sunday and gave trainer Ken McPeek his first Preakness win.
Entering the 145th running of the iconic race, which took place without fans, several horses had favorable odds. Authentic, the winner of the Kentucky Derby, faced 9-5 odds while Art Collector sat at 5-2. Thousand Words also had favorable odds at 6-1. Art Collector previously missed the Kentucky Derby with a foot injury but was back in action for the $1 million race. Swiss Skydiver was the other horse drawing attention prior to the race. The filly took care of business on the track and became the first filly to win the Preakness Stakes since 2009.
THE FILLY WINS IT IN A PHOTO FINISH!!!October 3, 2020
Midway through the race, it appeared that Authentic would secure another win in the Triple Crown. The horse had the lead but Swiss Skydiver moved into first on the final turn. The filly then moved to the far railing and maintained a blistering pace. Authentic moved within inches of winning but couldn't quite complete the comeback. The loss left Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert standing to the side and looking perplexed.
There was one name missing from the Preakness Stakes lineup on Saturday. Tiz the Law, the winner of the Belmont Stakes bypassed the final jewel in order to prepare for future races. This initially opened the door for Authentic to secure another win, but Swiss Skydiver was the horse that took advantage.
"You have to listen to your horse. We didn't feel we would have him 100% ready for the Preakness, so we decided to train up to the Breeders' Cup," Sackatoga Stable operating manager Jack Knowlton said in late September. "[trainer] Barclay [Tagg] and [assistant trainer] Robin [Smullen] felt he wasn't ready to do his two breezes that we believed were necessary for the Preakness. We couldn't do it this past weekend and we were looking at [Sept. 23], but that didn't work out.
"So we said we don't have to go to the Preakness. We have a bigger prize at the end of the year at the Breeders' Cup. We know he runs very well off long layoffs so that's the decision we made. It's off to a new chapter and we have a $6 million race to look forward to, which is great for a small stable like ours."
Several celebrities made their picks heading toward Saturday's race, a list that included Wyclef Jean, JB Smoove and Mario Lopez. The longtime comedian in Smoove picked Art Collector while Lopez went with the odds-on favorite in Authentic. Jean agreed and also picked Authentic. Kandi Burruss, on the other hand, said that she was sick of the "boys' club" and picked Swiss Skydiver. Burruss ultimately had the last laugh after watching her pick race to the upset win.