Filly Swiss Skydiver wins the 145th Preakness Stakes horse race at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore on Sat Oct 3, 2020 (AP News photo)
By Jessica Kwong
The only filly in the race, Swiss Skydiver, won the Preakness Stakes on Saturday afternoon, claiming her place in history as only the sixth female horse to do so, and the first in 11 years.
Swiss Skydiver beat all the boys in thrilling fashion, in a stretch duel with Kentucky Derby champion Authentic. The two-horse race was close, but the three-year-old filly held Authentic off and beat him by a nose.
She was the first filly, or young female horse less than four years of age, to win the race since Rachel Alexandria in 2009.
“Just a real honor to be around a horse like this,” Swiss Skydiver’s trainer Kenny McPeek said. “It’s a special moment.”
Swiss Skydiver’s jockey Robby Albarado said he “had an opportunity” when Authentic’s Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez abandoned the rail at the far turn.
“I took advantage of the rail. Johnny stayed off the fence there, made a conscious decision to move at that time. Give or take now,” Albarado said. “If I make that move now or I wait and get smothered.”
With odds of 11-1, Swiss Skydiver upset 3-2 favorite Authentic. Jesus’ Team at 40-1 took third place and Art Collector at 2-1 finished fourth.
Swiss Skydiver was the first filly to compete in the Preakness since 2014, when Ria Antonia came in last. Swiss Skydiver raced in Kentucky, New York, Florida, Louisiana, California and Arkansas this year, and was constantly hungry and eager to train.
“She never gets tired,” McPeek said.
McPeek won the Preakness for the first time and celebrated his second victory in a Triple Crown series after last winning the Belmont Stakes in 2002.
By defeating Authentic and Thousand Words, Swiss Skydiver denied their trainer Bob Baffert of a 17th Triple Crown race win and prevented him from setting a record with eight Preakness victories.
The spectator-less 145th running of the Preakness at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, came just four weeks after the Kentucky Derby. For the first time, the 1 3/16th-mile-long race was the third leg of the Triple Crown, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The backwards schedule this year kicked off with the Belmont Stakes on June 20, followed by the Kentucky Derby on September 5.
Authentic upset Belmont Stakes champion Tiz the Law, who did not compete in the Preakness as he was not ready, according to Sackatoga Sable managing partner Jack Knowlton. The most recent Triple Crown winner was Justify, trained by Baffert, in 2018.
2020 Preakness Stakes results:
1. Swiss Skydiver – 11/1 2. Authentic – 3/2 3. Jesus’ Team – 40/1 4. Art Collector – 2/1