LOUISVILLE, Ky (WDRB) -- The Preakness Stakes, the second jewel of thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown, has been rescheduled for Saturday, Oct. 3, at 4:30 p.m., Maryland governor Larry Hogan and Pimlico Race Course chair and president Belinda Stronach said Saturday.
On what would have been Preakness Day, the official announcement came during an NBC telecast celebrating the race. Dates for the Black Eyed Susan and other Pimlico stakes will be announced later.
“Under normal circumstances, I would have stood today at Pimlico Race Course with Ms. Stronach to present the Woodlawn Vase to the winner of the 145th Preakness Stakes. But, as we all know, these are not ordinary circumstances,” Hogan said. “I am delighted that we were successful in working with 1/ST, the Maryland Jockey Club and all who are connected to Maryland’s Thoroughbred racing industry to set the new date of October 3rd.”
“We all wish we could have been together today to celebrate the Preakness but we stayed home and stayed safe and now we can look forward to Preakness 145 on October 3rd,” said Stronach. “I would like to thank Governor Hogan and all of the state and local leaders along with our industry stakeholders, racetrack communities and partners, including our broadcast partner NBC Sports, for the ongoing support and commitment to racing in Maryland.”
The announcement came on a big day of reopening for racing. Churchill Downs, which has rescheduled the Kentucky Derby for Sept. 5., began is live spring meet on Saturday, and the New York Racing Association announced it had gotten approval from state government to resume without spectators on June 1.
Belmont Park has yet to set a date that it will resume live racing, but that is expected in the coming days. The Belmont Stakes originally was scheduled for June 6. If the traditional third leg of racing's Triple Crown winds up being run before the Derby, it will be an enhanced points race for qualification for the Derby.
"We are more nuanced in our analysis, looking for economic activities that you can start without crowds and without gatherings," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday. "Remember, the problem here are crowds and gatherings. So what can you do? Or what economic activity is willing to reopen without a crowd? They're talking about this in terms of sports. You can have baseball without a crowd, but it can still be televised. Great. You can have economic activity without a crowd, that's great.
"We can do that in this state with horse racing tracks, and we're going to do that. There will be guidelines for the actual participants, but no crowds, no fans. But for the industry itself, for the televised viewers, that can still work."
NYRA released a statement on Saturday thanking Cuomo for his leadership and promising to move forward safely. There has been no racing in New York, the epicenter for COVID-19 in the U.S., since May 15.
"This is a reasoned and responsible decision by Governor Cuomo that will enable horse racing to resume in a way that prioritizes health and safety while recognizing that NYRA is the cornerstone of an industry responsible for 19,000 jobs and $3 billion in annual economic impact," NYRA president and CEO Dave O'Rourke said. "NYRA has developed a comprehensive safety plan that builds on our experience of operating training safely and responsibly during the pandemic, and includes extensive protocols to keep our community safe," the statement read. "With this safety plan in place, NYRA will announce race dates and a corresponding stakes schedule for the 2020 spring/summer meet at Belmont Park in the very near future."
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