Horse racing: Swiss Skydiver upsets Authentic to win Preakness Stakes

(Reuters) - Swiss Skydiver outpaced Kentucky Derby winner and race favourite Authentic in a dramatic photo-finish to win the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore on Saturday, bringing an end to a Triple Crown season unlike any other due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

With the win, Swiss Skydiver, ridden by Robby Albarado, became only the sixth filly to win the 1-3/16 mile race at Pimlico and the first since Rachel Alexandra in 2009. Jesus’ Team was third.

Swiss Skydiver, who broke from the fourth post, took the lead in the 11-horse race after the half-mile mark when Albarado made a move towards the rail next to Authentic, who was in front at the time with jockey John Velazquez aboard.

“I had an opportunity,” said Albarado. “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. If I make that move now or I wait and get smothered.”

The victory denied Authentic trainer Bob Baffert a record-breaking eighth Preakness win.

The Preakness States is traditionally held in May as the second jewel of U.S. thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown but was postponed this year and held without fans due to the virus.

Due to COVID-19, the 2020 Triple Crown schedule was upended and so the Belmont Stakes, traditionally the finale of the three races, was held first with the Kentucky staged in early September instead of the first Saturday in May.

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ken Ferris