Refuting a Wednesday morning report from Baltimore’s WBAL-TV that the Preakness Stakes would run on Oct. 3, The Stronach Group said a new date for the postponed race is not yet finalized.
TSG, which owns Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore and its sister track, Laurel Park, was forced to put out the statement Wednesday. It did so after WBAL, Baltimore’s NBC affiliate, posted on its website the race would run Oct. 3. NBC is the broadcast partner for the Preakness.
“At this point, there is no definitive date set and we continue to explore options,” TSG said.
Only One Triple Crown Jewel is in Place
The Preakness was scheduled for May 16, but went on indefinite hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Like the third leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes, it remains in scheduling limbo. The Kentucky Derby remains the only scheduled Triple Crown race, and is set to run on Sept. 5.
Less than 90 minutes after first posting the story, WBAL backtracked on its report. By 10:47 a.m. PT, it changed its post to read, “A potential date could be set for the 145th Preakness Stakes. An October date is being floated for NBC TV time.”
While TSG maintains the date isn’t yet set, the Associated Press reports the Oct. 3 date is one of three likely dates, joining unspecified dates in July and August. If the Preakness runs Oct. 3, it would likely be the third and final jewel of the 2020 Triple Crown.
Logistically, the Date Fits
If run on Oct. 3, that puts the Preakness – normally the second jewel of the Triple Crown – four weeks after the Kentucky Derby and five weeks before the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland.
In turn, an Oct. 3 Preakness essentially forces the New York Racing Association to move the Belmont Stakes (currently June 6) to sometime in late July or August. That makes the customary third jewel of the Triple Crown the first. The NYRA hasn’t released a rescheduled date for the Belmont.
The NYRA is facing another scheduling headache in addition to the Belmont. It must decide what to do with its marquee summer race for 3-year-olds, the Travers at Saratoga. A proposed Derby prep on the revamped Derby Trail, the Travers is currently set for Aug. 29 – a week before the Derby.