It hasn't been a typical Triple Crown season, but with the Preakness Stakes around the corner, we've made it to the non-traditional third leg.
The Preakness is usually the second jewel of thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown, but this year, the order of the three was changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic: the Belmont Stakes was run on June 20, the Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5, and on Saturday, the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.
As the Derby is nicknamed The Run for the Roses, the Preakness Stakes is referred to as The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans, given the race's official flower.
And for the first time in Pimlico history, the Preakness and the Black-Eyed Susan, the race for three-year-old fillies, will be run on the same day.
On Monday morning, the post position draw for the 145th Preakness Stakes was held, which only helps the Vegas odds hone in on which of the 11 three-year-old thoroughbreds has the best shot of capturing the Middle Jewel.
Below, we'll outline all of the post positions for the horses entered into this year's race, as well as their odds, and break down who is favored heading into Saturday's event.
2020 Preakness Post Position Draw and Odds
1. Excession (30-1)
2. Mr. Big News (12-1)
3. Art Collector (5-2)
4. Swiss Skydiver (6-1)
5. Thousand Words (6-1)
6. Jesus' Team (30-1)
7. Ny Traffic (15-1)
8. Max Player (15-1)
9. Authentic (9-5)
10. Pneumatic (20-1)
11. LiveYourBeastLife (30-1)
The Preakness is typically a bit easier to evaluate than the Kentucky Derby, but this year, there is an extra layer of mystery surrounding the 11-horse field, as a handful of Derby participants are not running in the Middle Jewel.
It's no surprise that Kentucky Derby winner Authentic is the Vegas darling heading into the Preakness Stakes. The Bob Baffert-trained colt notched the seventh-fastest Kentucky Derby in history, at 2:00.61 for 1¼ miles.
The Derby win was Baffert's sixth; now, he'll look for his eighth Preakness Stakes win from Authentic on Saturday. And the three-year-old may well give it to him; he has only lost once in six starts. Authentic did not run in the Belmont Stakes.
Another notable horse to watch on Saturday is Art Collector, who was the second choice heading into the Derby behind Tiz the Law but had to be withdrawn the morning of the post draw with a minor injury to his left front heel.
Now healthy, Art Collector is the second betting choice in the Preakness at 5-2. The winner of the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on July 11 will run from post position No. 3.
Speaking of the Derby favorite, Tiz the Law, who won the Belmont in June, won't be looking for a second jewel by running the Preakness Stakes. His trainers are instead preparing him for the Breeders' Cup Classic at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington on Nov. 7.
Derby horses Mr. Big News (third), Max Player (fifth) and Ny Traffic (eighth) return for the Preakness Stakes. Another Baffert-trained horse, Thousand Words, will run the Preakness after being scratched from the Kentucky Derby.
The Preakness purse is $1 million. Post time is 5:45 p.m. ET on Saturday, and the race will be broadcast live on NBC.