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Kentucky Derby winner Authentic draws nine spot, is favorite at Preakness Stakes

Authentic, ridden by jockey John Velazquez, heads to the finish line to win the Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5.
Authentic, ridden by jockey John Velazquez, heads to the finish line to win the Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5 at Churchill Downs.
(Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

Kentucky Derby winner Authentic drew the nine spot on Monday for Saturday’s running of the 145th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md. The Southern California-based colt was immediately named the 9-5 favorite in the 11-horse field.

Authentic is trained by Bob Baffert, and he also has Thousand Words (6-1) in the race, who will break from the five position. Thousand Words was scheduled to run in the Derby but reared up in the paddock and fell on his side, requiring an automatic scratch from the race.

“I didn’t want to be in the one-hole and I didn’t want to be in the 11,” Baffert said about the draw of his horses in the Preakness. “[Authentic] has to get away from there well. He’s a good gate horse.”

Baffert has won the Preakness seven times, and all five times he has entered the race with the winner of the Kentucky Derby. Of course, this year is very different because the races are in the fall and the Preakness is four weeks after the Derby, not the usual two.

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The race lost some of its luster when Tiz the Law, winner of the Belmont Stakes, elected to skip the Preakness to concentrate on the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 7.

Art Collector, who missed the Kentucky Derby with a minor injury, will break from the three and was installed as the 5-2 second choice.

“I’m happy with [the draw],” trainer Tom Drury said. “If he gets away good, he can be tactical or he can run forwardly [placed], so [jockey] Brian [Hernandez Jr.] can look around and decide where to go from there.”

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Art Collector had won both the Blue Grass Stakes and Ellis Park Derby heading into the Kentucky Derby and was expected to be the major competition for Tiz the Law. When he nicked one of his front ankles, however, the decision was to keep him out of race.

Swiss Skydiver is the only filly in the race. She is coming off second-place finishes in the Kentucky Oaks against other fillies and in the Blue Grass Stakes against males. She will break from the four at 6-1. Five fillies have won the Preakness.

Improbable used a powerful run through the stretch to beat Maximum Security by 4½ lengths in the Grade 1 $300,000 Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita.

Steve Asmussen has three horses in the race: Excession in the one at 30-1, Max Player from the eight at 15-1 and Pneumatic in the 10 at 20-1. Max Player will be the only horse to run in all three Triple Crown races this year.

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Because of coronavirus restrictions, some of the top jockeys who would normally be in this race are staying in their home territories. Four of the 11 jockeys are based in Maryland, and there are no jockeys from the Southern California jockey colony who will ride.


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