Preakness Stakes officially rescheduled for October 3 amid coronavirus outbreak

For the first time since World War II, the Preakness Stakes, the second race of the Triple Crown, will take place outside of the month of May. The most attended annual sporting event in Maryland was moved to Oct. 3 by order of Gov. Larry Hogan. 

The announcement was officially made on Saturday, about one hour before the Preakness was originally scheduled to be run. It followed an hour-long special replaying American Pharaoh’s win at Pimlico Race Course in 2015.

“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, per the Baltimore Sun. “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 3.”

The race’s postponement was originally announced back in March. The Kentucky Derby has been rescheduled to September 5, but because a new race date has not been found for the Belmont Stakes, the order of the Triple Crown has not been officially determined. The uncertainty leaves the possibility of the winner of horse racing’s most prestigious accomplishment being anointed in Baltimore for the first time in history.

Earlier this month, it was announced that the Preakness would remain at Pimlico after the racecourse would undergo a $375 million renovation. It’s not clear whether the event will be spectator-free, but it’s worth noting that Gov. Hogan has already relaxed stay-at-home orders for the state of Maryland, allowing things like retail businesses to reopen at 50% capacity. The state has dealt with over 36,000 cases of COVID-19, with over 1,700 dying from it.

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