Keeping Score: Authentic outcome expected at 145th Preakness Stakes

Published: 10/2/2020 4:55:52 PM
Modified: 10/2/2020 4:55:41 PM

Good morning!
Post time for today’s 145th Preakness Stakes from Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore is 5:30 p.m. (NBC-TV). Only 250 spectators will be allowed into the 150-year-old track that was named for British tavern owner Ben Pimlico.

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s versatile colt Authentic is the 9/5 morning line favorite after winning last month’s Kentucky Derby gate-to-wire at 8-1 odds and holding off the heavily favored Tiz the Law. The 3-year-old colt cost his West Coast investors $350,000 at the Keeneland yearling sale and has earned over $2.8 million with five wins in six starts.

After Authentic’s best-of-37 four furlong workout in 47⅗ on Monday, Baffert told Bloodhorse: “He worked fine and looks fantastic, so we’re ready.”

None of today’s jockeys have won a Preakness, but John Velazquez has five Triple Crown wins and will be seeking to add a sixth when he rides Authentic.

Tiz the Law is resting for next month’s Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland, but others have elicited oohs and aahs from the racing cognescenti. Art Collector (5-2) won the Blue Grass Stakes and Ellis Park Derby, Swiss Skydiver (6-1) won the Grade I Alabama Stakes at Saratoga, and Baffert’s “other” colt Thousand Words (6-1) recorded a 104 Beyer Speed Figure his last out at Del Mar (second best to Authentic’s 105 Beyer in the Kentucky Derby).

Talented as they are, they have issues. Art Collector missed the Kentucky Derby with a foot injury, Thousand Words was a late Derby scratch after he flipped in his stall, and Swiss Skydiver was a well beaten second her last out in the Kentucky Oaks and seeks to be the first filly to win a Preakness since Rachel Alexandra in 2009.

The rest of the field is composed of double-digit longshots. Ny Traffic (15-1) and Mr. Big News (12-1) are the only other colts with triple digit Beyers. Ny Traffic lost by a nose to Authentic in the Haskell Invitational but was a listless eighth in the Kentucky Derby, prompting trainer Saffie Joseph to replace jockey Paco Lopez with Horatio Karamonos. Luis Saez, the fourth-leading money earner this year, is back aboard Mr. Big News after riding him to a surprising third-place finish in the Kentucky Derby at 46-1 odds.

Steve Asmussen has entered three Preakness longshots: Excession (30-1), Pneumatic (20-1) and Max Player (15-1), but his best chance of visiting the winner’s circle will be with Wicked Whispers (9-2) in the Grade II Miss Preakness and Hidden Enemy (4-1) in the Laurel Futurity.

Today’s card starts at 11 a.m., and all 12 races boast purses of at least $100,000.

Whenever Bob Weiss and Dave Petrin showed up at the Greenfield skating rink before sunrise, Jake Shulda was there to meet them. “We were the first team to practice and Jake showed up early so we could have extra ice time,” remembered Weiss. “He was always good to us.”

Jake was good to a lot of people, whether it was at the rink he managed or the softball fields where he umped, or at Saratoga where he played the ponies. There could be 20,000 racegoers at the Spa, but you’d always know where to find Jake under the grandstand close to the mutuels windows and concession stand.

He died on Sept. 18 at his home in Shelburne Falls after a long fight with lung cancer. He was 72 and had lived his entire life in West County. He went to Arms Academy and worked as a soda jerk at Baker’s Pharmacy. “In Greenfield, we’d stop for root beer floats at the A&W or go to Snow’s Dairy for frappes. They called them awful-awfuls,” remembered his friend Skip Smith. “We’d drive to West Springfield to watch Eddie Shore’s Springfield Indians play the Hershey Bears or Quebec Aces and we’d be the obnoxious kids yelling ‘Get the puck out of there!’

“One of us posted on Facebook he was a Falls boy. To us that’s an honor bestowed upon a handful of boys who grew up in the village. I wish I could explain that title in words. It’s a damn good compliment about friends doing what friends do in small towns.”


The Recorder’s Anita Fritz reported this week that Adams Donuts will soon be re-opening. Twin sisters Sidra and Sabra Billings are taking over the shuttered business from Carrie Brown and hope to be serving America’s favorite breakfast treat as soon as next month.

Although they’re now called Sidra Baranoski and Sabra Dickinson, in childhood they were the Billings girls. They lived in the house next door to ours on Route 5 in Wapping, the tiny hamlet on Rte. 5 between South Deerfield and Old Deerfield.

Fritz quoted Sabra saying they’re both excited because “we’ve always had a passion for creating fun, sweet treats for families and friends.”

That’s a good thing, because every town needs its own donut shop.


Congrats to Greenfield native Steve Skramer, whose son Josh is getting married this weekend. Kramer said dealing with the pandemic was a logistical nightmare for the bride’s parents: “Started at the Copley with 200 guests, then to South Carolina for just family; then they were offered Castle Hill at Newport for one-third the price due to a cancellation. So now it is Newport RI for 50. Guess I’ll have to change my name to Augustus Kramersworth III.”


Nobody expected the Red Sox to do much without Mookie Betts and Chris Sale, but finishing in last place a game behind Baltimore was disgraceful. The shoe-at-the-television game was against the Yankees on Sept. 18 when they took a 4-0 lead into the seventh inning. Martin Perez was pitching a three-hit shutout, had walked one and struck out seven.

He’d thrown 86 pitches and appeared capable of going the distance but Ron Roenicke lifted him for Darwinson Hernandez, followed by Marcus Walden, Ryan Brazier, Matt Barnes and Ryan Weber. They combined to allow six runs and the Red Sox lost, 6-5, in 12 innings.


BASEBALL NOTEBOOK: Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Gay asked baseball laureate Roger Angell his opinion of putting a runner at second base in extra innings. “I can understand it,” said the 100-year-old Angell, “but it goes against every baseball instinct that I have, because the heart of the game is you have to earn every base.” … The Red Sox waited until nobody was looking to announce they’d fired Ron Roenicke. The SportsHub’s Jim Murray said word came down during Sunday’s Pats-Raiders game. “At kickoff,” said Murray. “It’s why people like me despise the Red Sox ownership. They’re devious. They do this stuff all the time.” … Rockies righthander Daniel Bard is a shoo-in to be named Comeback Player of the Year. The 6-foot-4 righthander pitched for the Red Sox and was an outstanding setup man until 2012 when he walked 43 batters in 59 innings and was released. His next big league game wasn’t until July 25 of this year, when he pitched an inning-and-a-third for the Rockies and got the win against Texas. He finished 4-2 with six saves and a 3.45 ERA in 22 relief appearances. … Meanwhile, 2016 Cy Young winner Rick Porcello was 1-7 with a 5.64 ERA for the Mets this year. … Bronx-born Padres radio announcer Ted Leitner on St. Louis reliever Alex Reyes: “Six-three 175 pounds from Elizabeth, New Jersey. That’s a garden spot! Aheh-heh!” … MLB suspended south sider Jimmy Cordero three games after he drilled the Cubs’ Wilson Contreras for flipping his bat after a home run. Nice to see the Chisox-Cubs rivalry heating up. … Jeff Samardzija was waived by the Giants this week after 13 seasons and an 80-106 career record. The tall southpaw caught 27 touchdown passes in two seasons at Notre Dame but opted for baseball and made $122.7 million, according to


SQUIBBERS: Friday marked the 42nd anniversary of the Bucky Dent home run. Carl Yastrzemski stood under the left field wall and waited and waited, and three innings later popped to third baseman Graig Nettles to end the game. … Memo to Mssr. Sweeney at the Weldon: Looks like we’ll get to watch the UMass Minutemen get their tri-corner hats handed to them after all. … Thanks Ed Gregory for setting the record straight regarding Captain Turner. An editorial page is for opinion, not a license for the emotionally unstable to change or distort facts. … The 49ers didn’t punt once during last Sunday’s 36-9 win against the Giants. …RIP Jack Kelly, the Whalers boss who brought Gordie and Mark Howe to Hartford. … Boomer Esiason calls Bills QB Josh Allen “a young Ben Roethlisberger, a bucking bronco.”… Tony Romo refers to Stephon Gilmore as “Prime Revis,” as in Darrelle Revis. …

Tiger Woods’ ex-wife Elin Nordegren has downsized from her $28.6 million home in North Palm Beach to a $9.9 million pad in Palm Beach Gardens. … Cam Newton’s reaction to whatever N’Keal Harry said on the sidelines Sunday was to roll his eyes and slide down off the bench. It was a refreshing contrast to all things TB12. … If you ever need a washing machine delivered from Manny’s, ask for Mike and Jeremy; over-the-top service from a local business. … Happy Birthday Papa John, 91-years-old and still cutting hair in the glow of the barber’s pole. … Joe Namath on the thrill of victory: “When you win, nothing hurts.”

Chip Ainsworth is an award-winning columnist who has penned his observations about sports for four decades in the Pioneer Valley. He can be reached at

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