(Reuters) – Kentucky Derby winner Authentic drew the ninth post on Monday for Saturday’s 11-horse Preakness Stakes in Baltimore where a Triple Crown campaign unlike any other due to the COVID-19 outbreak comes to a close.
The Bob Baffert-trained colt was set as a 9-5 morning-line favorite for the 1 3/16-mile race, which is traditionally held in May as the second jewel of U.S. thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown but postponed this year due to the virus.
“I’d rather be nine than one or 11,” said Baffert. “It really doesn’t matter as long as he breaks OK.”
Baffert, who counts seven Preakness Stakes wins among his record 16 victories in Triple Crown races, will also send out Albaugh Family Stables and Spendthrift Farm’s Thousand Words, who will break from the fifth post.
Authentic, ridden by John Velazquez, led all the way at the Kentucky Derby and held off a late challenge from favourite Tiz the Law down the stretch in the annual Run for the Roses.
Connections for Tiz the Law, who won the Belmont Stakes in June, announced last week that he is skipping the Preakness.
Due to COVID-19, the 2020 Triple Crown schedule was upended and so the Belmont Stakes, traditionally the final of the three races, went first while the Kentucky went off in early September instead of the first Saturday in May.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ken Ferris)