Preakness Horse Racing

Jockey John Velazquez tumbles to the track after falling off Bodexpress (9) as the field breaks from the starting gate in the 144th Preakness Stakes last year at Pimlico. War of Will, far right, ridden Tyler Gaffalione won the race.

The Preakness Stakes could still be run on one of three dates this summer or fall.

The Maryland Jockey Club and NBC Sports have set aside three possible dates, a person with knowledge of negotiations said. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday because no decision has been made among the dates.

The NBC affiliate in Baltimore reported the Preakness will be run Oct. 3. The person tells The AP that is one of the three possible dates, along with one each in July and August.

State and local authorities, racing officials and TV executives are expected to make the determination based on the health and safety situation as it develops.

Maryland Jockey Club president Sal Sinatra says officials are still working with NBC Sports on rescheduling the race, which would have been run May 16. That date was scratched by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Stronach Group — which owns Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore — said in a statement, “There is no definitive date set and we continue to explore options” for the Preakness.

The Kentucky Derby has been rescheduled from May 2 to Sept. 5. The Belmont Stakes, scheduled for June 6, like the Preakness doesn’t have a new date yet.

Spokesman Pat McKenna said the New York Racing Association “is in the process of working with state and local officials to safely resume live racing at Belmont Park. A determination about the timing of the 2020 Belmont Stakes will be made only after we have clarity on the opening of the Belmont spring/summer meet.”

The timing of the Preakness could have ripple effects on the Triple Crown and the Breeders’ Cup, which is set for Nov. 6-7 at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky. It’s possible the Triple Crown races could be run out of order and at different distances depending on the calendar.

Regardless of when the Preakness is held, the infield is expected to be closed. Track officials decided on April 3 to cancel Infieldfest, where tens of thousand fans gather to drink beer, socialize, attend free concerts and bet on races.

The infield usually makes up the lion’s share of attendance at the race, which last year drew 131,256 fans and took in a track-record handle of $99,852,653.

Follow me on Twitter @Bill_Haufe. Email me at bhaufe@stardem.com

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