2020 Preakness Stakes Postponed Because of Coronavirus Pandemic

Blake SchusterCorrespondent IIApril 3, 2020

Jockey John Velazquez tumbles to the track after falling off Bodexpress (9) as the field breaks from the starting gate in the 144th Preakness Stakes horse race at Pimlico race course, Saturday, May 18, 2019, in Baltimore. War of Will, far right, ridden Tyler Gaffalione won the race. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

The second leg of horse racing's triple crown has officially been postponed, as the Preakness Stakes announced Friday it will reschedule the event. 

In March, the Kentucky Derby announced it was postponing its race until September. The Maryland Jockey Club said whenever the Preakness is held, it will be with an empty infield out of an abundance of caution due to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Preakness Stakes @PreaknessStakes

IMPORTANT UPDATE: @infield_fest 2020 has been cancelled while Preakness 145 is currently exploring a new date. https://t.co/YV4w7nDtLr

The race was originally slated to run on May 17 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.

Horse racing has tried to maintain its schedule during the pandemic with multiple qualifiers for the Kentucky Derby taking place on tracks that were off limits to the public. Both the Louisiana Derby and Florida Derby were held in March behind closed doors as part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby.

While the Preakness is postponed, the infield festival has been outright canceled with hopes to resume in 2021.

"InfieldFest is a vibrant and cherished event for Baltimore City that brings together thousands of fans for legendary performances, unique hospitality and curated activations during the historic Preakness Stakes," the Maryland Jockey Club said in a statement. "This was a difficult decision but we are confident that it was the right one."

With two of the Triple Crown races now postponed, the sport turns to the Belmont Stakes to see how it will handle the race. The third leg of the Triple Crown is currently scheduled for June 6 in Elmont, New York. 

As of March 17, Belmont Park was still weighing its options for the race but had not made a decision. New York Racing Association CEO and President Dave O'Rourke issued a statement at that time:

"As the coronavirus pandemic continues to upend American life, decisions about large-scale public events must prioritize public health and safety above all else. NYRA will deliver an announcement only when that process has concluded to the satisfaction of state and local health departments. The Belmont Stakes is a New York institution with wide-reaching economic impact. We look forward to its 152nd edition in 2020."


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