BALTIMORE — Preakness week at Pimlico Race Course in 2020 is quiet and empty around the track because of the restrictions put in place for Maryland's biggest race.
It's kind of how it will be on race day.
"It’s different. It’s very different," said jockey Trevor McCarthy. "It’s a little disappointing and sad."
McCarthy, a Millersville resident, will ride 30-1 long shot Liveyourbeastlife in the 145th Preakness Stakes on Saturday.
"So, the first time I met him was this morning, in person, and he’s very feisty in the stall. Very playful. He’s a big colt," said McCarthy. "He really mellowed down when he got the saddle and the bridle on. He just changed differently. He was all business."
Liveyourbeastlife is one of eleven horses in the field. Authentic is the 9-5 favorite.
The 26-year-old McCarthy is one of four Maryland-based jockeys riding on Saturday. It’s his second time participating in the Preakness. He also competed in 2015.
"I just seem very relaxed and mellow and excited and just so happy and blessed, really," he said.
Part of the reason why McCarthy feels so blessed is because of what he overcame just a few weeks ago. In August he was diagnosed with COVID-19.
"I woke up one night with chills and sweating. Hot, cold, hot, cold and had a really bad fever, bad headache. The first two days were really strong. It was like the flu. I was knocked out sleeping most of the day, most of the night. By the third day I woke up and I felt so much better, a big relief."
With good fortune and determination he recovered to get back to doing what he loves.
"I was like okay I’m going to beat this thing and do my best to beat it and stay healthy and come back to riding and work hard again and keep it going and just take it day-by-day. But, just go out there and do the best I can with the opportunities I’m getting," he said.
He has a pretty big opportunity on Saturday.
"Big," he said. "Very big."