By Nicholas Godfrey
USA: A date has finally been announced for the 145th running of the Preakness Stakes will be held on October 3 as the final leg of this year’s Triple Crown.
Maryland governor Larry Hogan revealed the new date at the end of a Preakness-themed NBC broadcast on Saturday, the race’s original scheduled date before coronavirus postponement.
With the Preakness being run as the final leg five weeks before the Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland, the 2020 Triple Crown will be like no other. Postponed from its traditional date on the first Saturday in May, the Kentucky Derby will now be held at Churchill Downs on September 5.
Four weeks later comes the Preakness at Pimlico in Baltimore – but both races are likely to come at least two months after the Belmont Stakes. Usually the climax of the Triple Crown, the so-called ‘Test of the Champion’ is likely to take place in late June following New York’s having been given the go-ahead to resume racing on June 1.
The Belmont’s traditional 1m4f distance is also subject to revision, with a shorter distance a possibility, according to a report in the Daily Racing Form.
Belinda Stronach, president of Pimlico’s owners the Stronach Group, issued a statement. “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 October 3,” Stronach said.
“I would like to thank Governor 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.”
Both Churchill Downs and Pimlico are hoping their new dates later in the year will enable a crowd to be admitted for the Classics.
Although the Belmont is the oldest of the Triple Crown races, the Preakness is two years older than the Derby, having first been run in 1873. What is now regarded as the traditional running order of the Triple Crown races was not established until 1931.