Authentic is the favorite in the 2020 Preakness Stakes after his upset victory over Belmont Stakes winner Tiz the Law in September's Kentucky Derby.
Saturday's race will mark the end of a unique Triple Crown season that's coming to a close in early October rather than early June because of the coronavirus pandemic. Although the timeline has changed, the action on the track hasn't lost any of its luster thanks to a strong three-year-old class.
Let's check out all of the important information for the 145th edition of The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans, including a look at the full 11-horse field. That's followed by a race preview.
Where: Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore
When: Saturday, Oct. 3 at 5:35 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NBC Sports Live
Prize Money: $1 million purse
Race Field 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
Morning-line odds via the race's official website.
It wasn't a surprise when Authentic surged to the front in the Derby, but his ability to hold off Tiz the Law during the stretch run after setting the pace for nearly the entire race showed a level of endurance he hadn't previously displayed, and it raises his outlook moving forward.
Expect jockey John Velazquez to utilize a similar game plan in the Preakness. The fact that the final jewel of the Triple Crown is happening after a month-long break gives Authentic a better opportunity to duplicate his strong run at Churchill Downs, as well. He's the rightful favorite.
That doesn't mean he's a lock to win Saturday's race, though. He's facing a gamely group of contenders.
Art Collector is the biggest threat to Authentic as he enters the Preakness undefeated as a three-year-old. He's coming off perhaps the best two outings of his career to win the Blue Grass Stakes in July and the Ellis Park Derby in August, lending hope he may be peaking at the perfect time.
While Swiss Skydiver and Thousand Words are also capable of pulling an upset, Max Player is a horse a little more off the radar that could make some noise Saturday.
He hasn't won since the Withers Stakes in February, but his last three races have all come against high-end competition. He finished third in both the Belmont and the Travers Stakes, each race won by Tiz the Law, and then came in fifth in the Kentucky Derby.
His Equibase speed figure has been at least 100 in all four of his starts this year. So, while he hasn't yet shown the finishing kick necessary to win a high-end Grade I stakes race, he's been a consistent competitor with the potential to finally secure a major breakthrough in the Preakness.
Here are predictions for the top finishers Saturday:
2. Art Collector
3. Max Player
All signs point to a highly competitive finish to the 2020 Triple Crown schedule, but there's no doubt Authentic is the horse to beat after his terrific effort in the Derby.