At the 2020 Kentucky Derby, Authentic played the role of spoiler to Tiz the Law. The 2020 Preakness played out much in the same way, but the shoe was on the other hoof for the Derby winner as Swiss Skydiver stunned the favorite down the stretch to claim a historic victory.
There wasn't much competition for either horse from the other nine competitors in the field. The two battled it out down the stretch and left the rest of the field 10 lengths behind as Swiss Skydiver took it in a photo finish.
NBC Sports provided the highlight of the final stretch:
The Kenny McPeek-trained horse made history as just the sixth filly to win the race and the first to do it since Rachel Alexandra in 2009.
The filly has been busy this year with nine starts, but this was only her second racing against colts. She finished second to Art Collector at the Blue Grass Stakes in July. Her ability to continue to improve and be at top form time after time makes her a special horse.
"She continues to get stronger, and it's amazing," McPeek told the media after the race. "I've been doing this for 35 years and you're around horses and sometimes you run them and they come back tired. She never gets tired. If anything, she makes me tired dragging me around the barn every day."
Art Collector was also making his Triple Crown debut and came in as the second choice, but he disappointed in a fourth-place finish. Long shot Jesus' Team was the surprise of the race with a third-place finish.
Order of Finish (Lengths Behind)
1. Swiss Skydiver
2. Authentic (neck)
3. Jesus' Team (10)
4. Art Collector (10)
5. Max Player (11¼)
6. Excession (15)
7. Mr. Big News (16)
8. Thousand Words (16½)
9. Ny Traffic (21¼)
10. Pneumatic (22½)
11. Liveyourbeastlife (32¾)
Bob Baffert will have to wait at least one more year to make Preakness history. He was eyeing his eighth win at the Baltimore race, which would have been a record, but it wasn't meant to be.
His other horse, Thousand Words, was on the pace early in the race, but that only served to allow Authentic and Swiss Skydiver to hang around the pace without exerting too much energy. Jockey Robby Albarado had a brilliant trip despite little time to get acquainted.
Tyler Gaffalione has been riding Swiss Skydiver, but his agent booked him to race the weekend at Keeneland, per The Blood-Horse, which left the Preakness winner's connections looking for a new rider.
Fortunately for them, Albarado—who won the Preakness aboard Curlin in 2007—was the choice, and his bold move to work to the inside in the middle of the race ultimately put her in the position she needed to get the win.
"I had an opportunity," Albarado said, per Chris Bumbaca of USA Today. "I took advantage of the rail. Johnny stayed off the fence there, made a conscious decision to move at that time. Give or take now. If I make that move now or I wait and get smothered."
If race fans are lucky, this isn't the last time we will see Swiss Skydiver and Authentic battle it out. McPeek and the horse's connections will now have to decide if they want to enter the filly against the boys once again in the Breeders' Cup Classic, which would likely pit her against the Derby winner and Belmont winner Tiz the Law.
If she could pull off that win, it would make her the obvious choice for Horse of the Year.
If not, we could once again see another showdown between Tiz the Law and Authentic. Either way, fans have been treated to a competitive trio of races in the Triple Crown, even if all three produced different winners.