December 4, 2020

Preakness date set for October 3

Pimlico Race Course (Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club)

The 2020 Preakness (G1) will be contested at Pimlico on Oct. 3, four weeks after the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby (G1). Belinda Stronach and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan made the proclamation on Saturday afternoon, during the NBC program that in normal times would have broadcast the Triple Crown’s Middle Jewel.

The date did not come as a surprise, since NBC’s Baltimore affiliate, WBAL-TV, had the scoop back on May 6. The Stronach Group and Maryland Jockey Club pushed back, stating that there was “no definitive date” and that an official announcement was to come once the matter was settled.

“Under normal circumstances, I would have stood today at Pimlico Race Course with Ms. Stronach to present the Woodlawn Vase to the winner of the 145th Preakness Stakes. But, as we all know, these are not ordinary circumstances,” Hogan said regarding the COVID-19 pandemic that has turned the world upside down.

“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 3rd,” 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.”

Track officials had already moved to cancel InfieldFest. According to the Saturday press release, plans are still pending for what 2020 Black-Eyed Susan Day might look like.

Also to be determined is the date of the Belmont S. (G1), but that announcement could come soon. On Saturday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared that racing could resume in the Empire State, without spectators, as early as June 1. With the Derby on Labor Day weekend and the Preakness about a month ahead of the Nov. 6-7 Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Belmont ends up reversing the usual order and going first in the Triple Crown series.