GULFSTREAM PARK, Fla. — Saturday, May 16 would have been Preakness Day at Pimlico Race Track, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the date for what traditionally has been the middle jewel of thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown has been pushed back to October.
Preakness' new date officially was announced May 16, wonderfully coincidentally on the same day that a Maryland-bred captured a stakes race at Gulfstream Park.
Double Crown (Cesar Torres) rallied from just off the pace to capture the $75,000 Roar Stakes as the 5-2 second choice in the compact field of six 3-year-olds. The sophomore son of Bourbon Courage out of the Two Punch mare Two Columbus was bred by veterinarian Tom Bowman, his wife Chris Bowman and their daughter Rebecca Davis of Dance Forth Farm near Chestertown.
This win was the first in two starts this year for the Bowman-bred and second overall in three career outings.
Heading into the Roar Stakes, Double Crown had received steady backing from the public following a second-place finish in his 3-year-old debut at Gulfstream Park on April 26.
Double Crown won his career debut Sept. 8, 2019 at Laurel Park in a maiden special weight event, and then ventured to Florida and worked five times over the Gulfstream strip for his sophomore debut.
Sent out as the second choice in the Roar Stakes, Double Crown broke well but was reserved off the pace in fourth as Cajun Casanova led the field down the backside with 3-5 favorite Green Light Go just off his flank.
Cajun Casanova led the field through honest fractions of 22 and 45 seconds flat with Green Light Go pressing him, while Double Crown gradually made his presence known splitting horses on the far turn and then angling three-wide for the drive.
At the top of the lane, Green Light Go surged past Cajun Casanova to take command, while Double Crown loomed alongside of the odds-on choice and drew closer with every stride.
One-sixteenth of a mile from home, Double Crown collared the favorite and the Bowman-bred edged past his stubborn foe for a neck victory while getting the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1 minute, 16.57 seconds over the fast main track.
Double Crown notched his first stakes score.
The Maryland-bred, whose career began at Laurel last summer, will be looking to join a handful of Maryland-breds such as Challedon, Bee Bee Bee, Kauai King and Deputed Testamony on the famed list of Preakness Stakes winners later this fall — roughly four months after his first stakes tally came on the original Preakness Day for 2020.
This year, amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has altered so much of the sports world, the Kentucky Derby was postponed from the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., to the first Saturday in September.
The Preakness Stakes has been moved to Oct. 3 — a full four weeks after the Derby, instead of the usual two weeks.
The Belmont Stakes, which until this year was the third jewel of the Triple Crown, now will be first, set for June 20.