Kentucky Derby winner Mage returns in the 2023 Preakness Stakes along with a small but formidable field.
The 2023 Preakness Stakes airs on Saturday, May 20 from 1 to 4:30 p.m. ET on CNBC and from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC. Coverage is also available to stream live on NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports app and Peacock.
Mage’s trainer Gustavo Delgado looks for his first Preakness win and his colt opens as the 8-5 morning-line favorite for the 148th edition of the race. Mage is the only horse that ran at the Kentucky Derby that will be in the field on Saturday, the first time that has happened since 1948.
Two-time Triple Crown-winning trainer Bob Baffert returns to Pimlico, with his first Triple Crown starter in his own name since 2021 edition of the Preakness. This year, Baffert brings National Treasure (4-1) to the Pimlico. The three-year-old colt hasn’t won since his maiden race and finished fourth at the Santa Anita Derby his last time out.
Brad Cox colt First Mission was due to be in the field and had the second-best odds to win, but was scratched on Friday.
Related: How to watch the 2023 Preakness Stakes
NBC Sports will also air the Black-Eyed Susan the day before on Friday, May 19 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. ET on CNBC, NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports app and Peacock.
The Preakness Stakes is the second leg of the American Triple Crown of horse racing. Like the Kentucky Derby, it’s a Grade I Thoroughbred stakes races. The Preakness is 9.5 furlongs, or 1 3/16th miles long.
The Preakness takes place on the dirt track at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. The race was first run in 1873 at Pimlico, but then moved to Morris Park Racecourse (now closed) in the Bronx. It wasn’t run for three years, and then it jumped to Gravesend Race Track (also closed) at Coney Island before returning to Baltimore in 1909, where it’s stayed ever since.
The race is traditionally run in mid-May, two weeks after the Kentucky Derby.
The 148th Preakness Stakes is on Saturday, May 20. Coverage begins on CNBC, NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports app and Peacock at 1 p.m. ET and will move to NBC at 4:30 p.m. ET.
Post time for the 2023 Preakness Stakes is set for approximately 7:01 p.m. ET.
The Preakness Stakes is run at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, MD.
NBC Sports is home to the 148th Preakness Stakes, providing comprehensive race coverage and analysis live on NBC, Peacock, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app before, during and after the main event. TV coverage begins at 1 p.m. ET on CNBC and moves over to NBC at 4:30 p.m. ET.
Mage set off as a 12-1 underdog started the race in the middle of the field and roared down the final stretch to win the 149th Kentucky Derby. The Derby field featured 18 horses after multiple horses, including the favorite Forte, were either scratched, and Churchill Downs saw seven horse deaths in the leadup to and day of the Derby. Two Phil’s finished second in the Kentucky Derby while Angel of Empire placed third.
The Kentucky Derby may be slightly older and more well-known, but the Preakness is distinct for several reasons. The field is often smaller (last year’s Preakness saw 10 entries as opposed to the usual Derby field of 20), and the distance is half a furlong shorter. But for any horse who just ran in the Derby, the two week turnaround time is the ultimate challenge.
Raucous infield festivities return with Preakness Live back in full form. Tunes, food and art meet horse racing at this annual music festival that takes place right in the middle of all the Preakness action Saturday, May 20. This year’s lineup includes Bruno Mars and Sofi Tukker.
In another fun tradition unique to the Preakness, the United States Postal Service’s temporary Pimlico office is also back after two years away because of COVID, and this year’s honorary postmaster will be Cricket Goodall, the executive director of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association.
On May 21, Chad Brown’s colt Early Voting stayed close to the pacesetter and finished with a burst down the final stretch to win 2022 Preakness Stakes. Early Voting went on to retire at the end of 2022.
Steve Asmussen-trained Epicenter was second to the wire after finishing runner-up at the Kentucky Derby two weeks before.
Watch the Preakness on Saturday, May 20 from 1 to 4:30 p.m. ET on CNBC and from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC. Coverage is also available on NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports app and Peacock.
BALTIMORE — Bob Baffert is back at the Preakness for his first Triple Crown race in two years, returning from a suspension and looking for a record-breaking win with National Treasure.
The white-haired Hall of Fame trainer and one of the faces of horse racing was in a familiar spot outside the stakes barn at Pimlico Race Course. National Treasure is his first horse at the Preakness since 2021 with Medina Spirit, whose disqualification that year after winning the Kentucky Derby for failing a drug test caused Baffert to be barred from the sport’s best-known race since.
“We love it here: It’s very low key, and they treat you really well,” Baffert said. “It’s laid-back, chill, you’ve got a Derby winner, so everybody’s excited about the Derby winner. The Preakness is about coming here, having fun and they want to see the Derby winner run.”
Baffert was not eligible to enter a horse in the Preakness or Belmont last year because of a 90-day suspension in Kentucky that Maryland and New York honored.
“We just keep on moving forward,” Baffert said of his return from suspension. “We have other horses to worry about. A lot of it is noise, so you keep the noise out and continue working, stay busy.”
Staying busy could mean plenty of winning this weekend. National Treasure is Derby champion Mage’s top challenger in the Preakness, and Baffert has three favorites in other big races: filly Faiza in the $300,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes, Havnameltdown in the $200,000 Chick Lang and Arabian Lion in the $100,000 Sir Barton.
“You bring ’em, you hope they win,” Baffert said. “It’s good to be involved in these races. Our whole operation is to play at the top level – to play at this level. All my clients like to play at this level so if you can come here and win those races, they’re exciting to win on the big days.”
The biggest race of the weekend is the $1.65 million Preakness, which Baffert and 19th-century trainer R. Wyndham Walden each have won seven times. Baffert said he has “never been one to think about records. I just like to enjoy it and have good horses and compete.”
Baffert has brought a lot of good horses to Baltimore during his career.
He did not come to Pimlico two years ago, leaving longtime assistant Jimmy Barnes to saddle Medina Spirit in an effort not to be a distraction after word emerged that the horse had tested positive at Churchill Downs for a medication that was not allowed on race day. Medina Spirit was allowed to run in the Preakness with additional testing procedures and finished third.
Baffert-trained Authentic finished second in the Preakness run in October with no fans in 2020 after winning the Derby. He most recently won the Preakness in 2018 with Justify, who went on to become horse racing’s 13th Triple Crown champion.
This time, he said Mage – who won the Derby at odds of 15-1 – is the horse to beat. Baffert’s just happy to be here.
“We’re just here to be a part of it and hopefully get a piece of it or all of it or whatever,” he said. “We love Pimlico. It’s basically the only time I eat crabcakes all year.”
BALTIMORE — Brad Cox-trained First Mission has been scratched from the Preakness on the advice of veterinarians, taking one of the top contenders out of the Triple Crown race 36 hours before post time.
Owner Godolphin and the Maryland Jockey Club announced the scratch, saying vets identified an issue with First Mission’s left hind ankle.
Godolphin USA bloodstock director Michael Banahan said examination of First Mission at Pimlico Race Course “was sort of inconclusive.”
“They thought that he was maybe not quite 100% on his left hind and tried to figure that out, do some diagnostics, something on the track there, which was difficult to do,” Banahan told The Associated Press in a phone interview. “The veterinary scrutiny is very heightened on the big days. Obviously they saw something that they were concerned about. … Brad is conservative and cautious, as well. When they thought that there was maybe a little issue, we said we’d just have to collaborate with them and go with their advice.”
First Mission is set to go to Kentucky to be evaluated further next week by Dr. Larry Bramlage at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington.
“We decided the best thing for the welfare of the horse was not to take any chances and get him evaluated fully and see where we are and see what we need to do to get him back on track again,” Banahan said. “Our utmost concern from an owner perspective, and the same with Brad from a trainer’s perspective is the best care of the horse and the welfare of the horse. And when there was a little bit of a concern there, we felt what we needed to do was pull him from the race and get him evaluated fully and see what we have.”
The removal of First Mission leaves seven horses in the field for the $1.65 million race. He was the early second choice at odds of 5-2 behind only 8-5 favorite Mage, who won the Kentucky Derby.
“You don’t like to see that,” said Hall of Famer trainer Bob Baffert, who is back at a Triple Crown race for the first time in two years with contender National Treasure. “We still have another day to go. Trainers, we don’t relax until we get the saddle on. Until I get the saddle on the horse, then you can just relax completely. It’s one of those things where you don’t want to wish any bad luck on anyone because we’ve all been there.”
It’s an all-too-familiar feeling this spring after the defections from the Derby left 18 to run instead of the usually full field of 20.
That included favorite Forte hours before, when Kentucky racing officials expressed concern about a bruised right front foot. Forte landed on the state’s vet list, grounding him from racing for at least 14 days, and trainer Todd Pletcher was suspended 10 days for Forte failing a postrace drug test in New York in September.
Racing officials who own and operate tracks in Maryland have increased testing and veterinary review procedures for horses running in the Preakness and other top stakes races this weekend at Pimlico Race Course as preventative measures to limit injuries. That includes multiple independent doctors examining horses, with each one needing to be cleared before racing.
What to know about the 2023 Preakness Stakes: Key Storylines, How to Watch and more from Pimlico – NBC Sports – Misc.
Kentucky Derby winner Mage returns in the 2023 Preakness Stakes along with a small but formidable field.