The 145th running of the “middle jewel” of thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown could only have ended the way it did. A year in which the male species in this country has failed miserably in so many ways, leave it to the distaff side, represented by Swiss Skydiver, to place an exclamation point on the Preakness and, by virtue of the 2020 three-year-old campaign’s convoluted schedule, the Triple Crown.
It was never going to be heavily favored Authentic, who captured the Kentucky Derby so convincingly. Likewise, Bob Baffert never seemed destined to enter the Pimlico winner’s circle for a record-breaking eighth Preakness win. His other entry, Thousand Words, moved to the front but faded badly down the stretch to finish eighth. Maybe in any racing season … but not in the year of the novel Coronavirus.
Thanks to an incredibly timely aerial shot by the good folks at NBC Sports, railbirds around the world became “skybirds” as they witnessed jockey Robert Albarado shoot thru the two-hole as the lead group of horses left the backstretch and headed into the second turn. With Florent Geroux and Thousand Words about to call it a day, Albarado beat John Velasquez to the rail and kept Authentic at bay during the scintillating stretch drive. At the wire, the WinStar Farm-bred chestnut filly with a white star had run the second-fastest Preakness Stakes in history at 1:53.10, falling ever so short of Secretariat’s record of 1:53 flat.