The Filly Wins the Preakness!
The 145th Preakness Stakes certainly lived up to the hype of the hashtag “A Jewel To Remember” with the filly Swiss Skydiver edging out Kentucky Derby winner, and Preakness favorite, Authentic to win by a neck. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Preakness Stakes was postponed from it’s standard May date to October 3 where it was also the final race in the 2020 Triple Crown series. With Tiz The Law winning the Belmont Stakes on June 20 and Authentic winning the Derby on September 5, this year’s Preakness would not yield a Triple Crown victory but what it did yield was one spectacular finish to a Triple Crown year that no one will forget.
Jockey Robby Albarado quickly took Peter Callahan’s Swiss Skydiver to the rail around the first turn and along the backstretch. He then eased her around the pacesetter Thousand Words and put her back on the rail alongside Authentic at the far turn. The two matched strides all the way to the finish when Swiss Skydiver narrowly pulled ahead at the wire. This was Albarado’s second Preakness Stakes win with his first being aboard Curlin in 2007.
Trained by Kenny McPeek, Swiss Skydiver became only the sixth filly to win the Preakness Stakes. The last Preakness winning filly was Rachel Alexandra in 2009. Swiss Skydiver also ran in nearly record time! Her time of 1:53.28 was the fasted set by a filly and second only to the 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat, who set the current Preakness record at 1:53.
“I’ve had a lot of special horses in my career, but she’s definitely right there at the top right now and I don’t see a long time until another one does something like that to me,” said McPeek.
Miss Marissa Wins the Black-Eyed Susan
Instead of its traditional Friday running, the 96th running of the Black-Eyed Susan was run on Preakness Day right before the Preakness Stakes. Miss Marissa added her third win in a row when she edged out Bonny South to win the Black-Eyed Susan. Ridden by Daniel Centeno for owner Alfonso Cammarota, Miss Marissa is trained by James Ryerson.
Wins for Maryland
With three days of stakes race action and purse money to run for, several horses with Maryland connections made their mark on this year’s Preakness weekend festivities.
Laki, who is based out of Laurel Park, won at the wire in a three-way photo finish for the $250,000 Frank De Francis Dash (G3). Named for the late president and chairman of both Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, the De Francis Dash debuted at Pimlico in 1990.
Owned by Hillside Equestrian Meadows and trained by Damon Dilodovico, Laki ran second in the De Francis last year when it was run at Laurel Park. With jockey Horacio Karamanos in the irons, Laki settled off the pace but began to run down the center of the track in the stretch. Laki, Nitrous and Eastern Bay came to the wire together with Laki earning the win.
Karamanos won earlier on Preakness Day riding Evil Lyn to victory in the 48th running of the $100,000 Hilltop. Trained by Mike Maker, Evil Lyn sat off the leaders but ran to the outside on the far turn to take the lead in the stretch. Vigilantes Way, ridden by fellow Maryland jockey Forest Boyce, made a late rush but the Paradise Farms Corp./David Staudacher filly prevailed to win by a half-length.
Four-time Maryland champion jockey Trevor McCarthy rode Fluffy Socks to win the $150,000 Selima on Preakness Day. This was only the fourth time that the Selima was run at Pimlico and is named for the great English mare that was imported to the U.S. in the 1750s by Belair Stud.
Trained by Chad Brown, the Head of Plains Partners LLC homebred Fluffly Socks started near the back of the pack and settled there until McCarthy saw an opening and pushed the filly through to win by 2 ¼ lengths.
The Maryland-bred Never Enough Time shook off some pressure to win the $100,000 Skipat by three-quarters of a length over Liza Star. Owned by breeder R. Larry Johnson and trained by Michael Trombetta, Never Enough Time took to the front early on and never let up. The Skipat win marked the fifth win in nine starts for the four-year-old daughter of Munnings. Jockey Julian Pimentel piloted her to the win. Trombetta previously won the Skipat in 2004 with Love You Madly. This year’s win marked the second stakes victory in a row for Never Enough Time.
Never Enough Time wasn’t the only winner for owner/breeder R. Larry Johnson during Preakness weekend however. On Thursday, October 1, his homebred A Great Time barreled past the field on the far outside to win the $100,000 The Very One by a length. Also trained by Trombetta and ridden by Pimentel, A Great Time is by Street Magician and out of the Clever Trick mare, Short Time. “We didn’t know she would handle it this well,” said Trombetta. “This is huge because she was multiple stakes placed but to make her stakes winner is important. It came at the right time.”
Another Maryland-bred victory during Preakness weekend was MCA Racing Stable’s Harpers First Ride winning the $250,000 Pimlico Special on Friday, October 2. Trained by Claudio Gonzalez, the state’s leading trainer for the past three years, Harpers First Ride was ridden by Angel Cruz.
Bred by Sagamore Farm, Harpers First Ride took the lead through the quarter mile. Owendale, a three-time Grade 3 winner that ran third in the 2019 Preakness Stakes, came up on the outside and remained at Harpers First Ride’s side around the turn into the stretch. That’s when Harpers First Ride seemed to find another gear and edged out Owendale.
Just to make the win even sweeter, the Pimlico Special was created in 1937 by Sagamore Farm’s owner Alfred Vanderbilt, and was the first major stakes race in the U.S. Previous winners include the famed Triple Crown winners War Admiral, Whirlaway, Citation and Assault.
Motion’s Stakes Seconds
Also noteworthy… trainer Graham Motion, based out of the Fair Hill Training Center, logged four second place finishes in stakes races during Preakness weekend!
- Invincible Gal – second in the $150,000 Selima
- Varenka – second in the $150,000 Gallorette
- Bye Bye Melvin – second in the $100,000 James W. Murphy
- Wootton Asset – second in the $150,000 Laurel Futurity