It's possible that Authentic could follow up his Kentucky Derby win with a victory at the Preakness Stakes. Most years, that would put him in position to potentially contend for the Triple Crown. Not in 2020, though.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the order of the three marquee horse races was rearranged. First, it was the Belmont Stakes, the usual third and final race, in June, when Tiz the Law raced to victory. Then, the Kentucky Derby took place in September, with Authentic upsetting Tiz the Law and spoiling his unorthodox Triple Crown bid.
Now, the Preakness is set to wrap up the Triple Crown slate on Saturday at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. Although the Triple Crown isn't in play and Tiz the Law won't be racing, it should still be a competitive race because of the strong field, which will include Authentic looking to secure another big victory.
Here's everything you need to know heading into Saturday's race.
2020 Preakness Information
Date: Saturday, Oct. 3
Post Time: 5:40 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NBC Sports Live
Post Lineup, 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)
Odds via Preakness Stakes
Year after year, longtime trainer Bob Baffert fields top horses in the Triple Crown races. So it's never a surprise when he ends up in the winner's circle at one of these marquee events. In fact, people have come to expect Baffert-trained horses to be there.
Baffert has won the Preakness Stakes seven times, which is tied with R. Wyndham Walden for the most all time. His last two Preakness wins came with a pair of Triple Crown winners in American Pharoah (2015) and Justify (2018).
Now, Baffert is looking to break that tie and make more history with his eighth Preakness victory. He has two horses in this year's 11-horse field—Authentic and Thousand Words. And both are expected to be among the top contenders in the race.
Authentic has already helped Baffert make history this year. By winning the Kentucky Derby, Authentic got Baffert his sixth career Derby victory, which is tied with Ben Jones for the most all time. And while the Preakness is still two days away, it appears Authentic has looked to be in strong shape since arriving at Pimlico Race Course earlier this week, including during Wednesday's workout.
"He just went out there for a little jog. He looked good," Baffert said, according to Horse Racing Nation. "Coming off that plane [Tuesday], he was like a keg of dynamite. He has so much energy, that horse. He's just so full of himself."
It's also possible that Thousand Words could earn Baffert his historic Preakness victory. This will be Thousand Words' first Triple Crown race as he was a late scratch prior to the Derby after falling over in the paddock area shortly before the event was to begin.
Thousand Words won the Shared Belief Stakes on Aug. 1 and is tied for the third-best odds to win the Preakness at 6-1.
The two top horses who could pose threats to Baffert's pair of horses are likely Art Collector and Swiss Skydiver. Art Collector was expected to be a top contender at the Kentucky Derby before he missed the race because of a minor foot injury. Swiss Skydiver is aiming to become the sixth filly to win the Preakness (and the first since 2009 winner Rachel Alexandra) and will be looking for another impressive showing against male horses after finishing second to Art Collector at the Blue Grass Stakes on July 11.
Like the two Triple Crown races before it, the Preakness is being held without fans in attendance because of the COVID-19 pandemic. And while the buildup to these races has felt different, Baffert says things are similar once they get underway.
"It didn't feel like Derby that day, but when that gate came open it felt like Derby," Baffert said, per Horse Racing Nation. "That's the way it is. When that gate comes open, it's going to feel like Preakness. That's what it's all about."
And if Preakness day ends in the same manner as Derby day, then Baffert could be celebrating even more history made.