The Preakness: The Middle Child Of The Triple Crown

The Preakness Stakes is the second of the three horse races for the Triple Crown .

The Preakness Stakes is an American thoroughbred horse race held on the third Saturday in May each year at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a Grade I race run over a distance of 9.5 furlongs (1+316 miles (1,900 m)) on dirt. Colts and geldings carry 126 pounds (57 kg); fillies 121 pounds (55 kg). It is the second jewel of the Triple Crown, held two weeks after the Kentucky Derby and three weeks before the Belmont Stakes.

First run in 1873, the Preakness Stakes was named by a former Maryland governor after the colt who won the first Dinner Party Stakes at Pimlico. The race has been termed “The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans” because a blanket of Maryland’s state flower is placed across the withers of the winning colt or filly. Attendance at the Preakness Stakes ranks second in North America among equestrian events, only surpassed by the Kentucky Derby.

Two years before the Kentucky Derby was run for the first time, Pimlico introduced its new stakes race for three-year-olds, the Preakness, during its first-ever spring race meet in 1873. Then Maryland governor Oden Bowie named the then mile and one-half (2.41 km) race in honor of the colt Preakness from Milton Holbrook Sanford’s Preakness Stud in Preakness, Wayne Township, New Jersey, who won the Dinner Party Stakes on the day Pimlico opened (October 25, 1870). The New Jersey name was said to have come from the Native American name Pra-qua-les (“Quail Woods“) for the area.[1] After Preakness won the Dinner Party Stakes, his jockey, Billy Hayward, untied a silk bag of gold coins that hung from a wire stretched across the track from the judges’ stand. This was the supposed way that the “wire” at the finish line was introduced and how the awarding of “purse” money came to be.[2] In reality, the term “purse”, meaning prize money, had been in use for well over a century.

The first Preakness, held on May 27, 1873, drew seven starters. John Chamberlain’s three-year-old, Survivor, collected the $2,050 winning purse by galloping home easily by 10 lengths. This was the largest margin of victory until 2004, when Smarty Jones won by 11 1/2 lengths.

In 1890, Morris Park Racecourse in the Bronx, New York hosted the Preakness Stakes. This race was run under handicap conditions, and the age restriction was lifted. The race was won by a five-year-old horse named Montague. After 1890, there was no race run for three years. For the 15 years from 1894 through 1908, the race was held at Gravesend Race Track on Coney Island, New York. In 1909 it returned to Pimlico.

Seven editions of the Preakness Stakes have been run under handicap conditions, in which more accomplished or favored horses are assigned to carry heavier weight. It was first run under these conditions in 1890 and again in the years 1910–1915. During these years, the race was known as the Preakness Handicap. [..]

The 145th running of the Preakness Stakes was held on Saturday, October 3, 2020, a delay resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak earlier in the year, and setting the year’s contest four weeks after the also-delayed Kentucky Derby. It was held without spectators for health reasons because of the outbreak.

Today’s race is 146th running of the race.

In May of 2019, ek hornbeck wrote this about the Peakness

Preakness Trivia

  • Actually 2 years older than the Kentucky Derby.
  • Shortest in distance (1/16th shorter than the Derby).
  • Only the Derby has a larger attendance.

There have been 37 winners of both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes including the 13 Triple Crown winners.

Preakness Traditions

Winners don’t get the real Woodlawn Cup, which is rumored to be the most valuable in Sports, to keep but a half size replica (oh, and the Woodlawn Racing Club is defunct). Black Eyed Susans don’t bloom until 2 months after the Preakness. No Black Eyed Susan has ever been used, currently it’s painted Chysthanthemums. The Old Clubhouse was destroyed in a fire in 1966. They paint the winner’s racing silks on the weathervane. No one on the internet knows why it’s called the Alibi Breakfast.

Official Website

I need a drink-

Black Eyed Susan Recipe
(Official, but without the brand names)Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 oz. Bourbon (20% of Early Times is aged in used barrels)
  • 3/4 oz. Vodka
  • 3 oz. Sweet and Sour Mix
  • 2 oz. Orange Juice


Fill a highball glass with shaved ice, add the liquors first, then top off with orange juice and sweet and sour mix. Stir and garnish with an orange slice, cherry, and stirrer.

It is impossible to talk about the Preakness this year without mentioning the 2 major controversies. The first and most easily disposed of is the fouling at the finish of the Kentucky Derby. Clearly Maximum Security violated some arcane rule about shutting down racing lines during the stretch and it’s easy to see why that can create a dangerous situation because horses don’t crash very gracefully. On the other hand it’s very difficult to distinguish that from mere hard racing. My advice is to hire some veteran refs from the NHL who can distinguish between a Legal and an Illegal Check (NFL refs being clearly hopeless for the task).

The other thing you can’t escape so easily are the deaths-

A horse died at Santa Anita on the same day another died at Pimlico
By Jacob Bogage, Washington Post
May 18, 2019

As horse racing reels from the shocking death of a horse on Friday at Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course that marred the weekend of the Preakness Stakes, another horse was killed training across the country at historic Santa Anita Park, thrusting the sport further into controversy during its most important period of the season.

Commander Coil, an unraced 3-year-old gelding, broke down of a shoulder injury during a routine gallop in training hours at the California racetrack. He is the 24th horse to die there since Dec. 26, and track executives still have yet to identify the underlying cause of the fatalities. One executive called the issues “multi-factorial,” but soil experts have not discovered anything unusual at the 84 year-old facility.

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) has called for the state’s horse racing commission to halt racing until four full-time investigators conclude their work studying the horses’ deaths, and state legislators have pledged to hold hearings on the state of the track.

Officials halted racing there in March after 21 equine deaths in a three-month span, but another horse, 3-year-old filly Princess Lili B, was killed after breaking both legs at the conclusion of a timed workout the day after the track reopened. Two weeks later, 5-year-old gelding Arms Runner, broke down during a fall on the turf course.

Before Commander Coil’s death, Santa Anita had gone six weeks without a horse fatality.

The same day, Congrats Gal, a 3-year-old filly, collapsed of what veterinarians suspect to be a heart attack after the Miss Preakness Stakes at Pimlico.

“The sickening collapse and sudden death of Congrats Gal at Pimlico are proof that the Maryland racing industry has not done enough to protect horses,” Kathy Guillermo, senior vice president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said in a statement. “ . . . We will be contacting the district attorney’s office, as we did in California, where the D.A. has appointed a task force to investigate training and veterinary practices.”

This happened just yesterday, Friday, less than 24 hours ago. The Stronach Group that owns Santa Anita also owns Pimlico Race Course.

This year’s race is dominated by the news of Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit failing a post race drug test. The horse has since been cleared for today’s race and the owner Bob Baster agreed to “rigorous testing and monitoring” and a “commitment from Bob Baffert to full transparency of medical and testing results that will allow for all results to be released to the public.”

There are just 10 horses in he race. Here are the starting positions and odds as of May 12.


Finish Program
Horse Trainer Jockey Morning
Line Odds[6]
1 Ram D. Wayne Lukas Ricardo Santana Jr. 30–1
2 Keepmeinmind Robertino Diodoro David Cohen 15–1
3 Medina Spirit Bob Baffert John Velazquez 9–5
4 Crowded Trade Chad Brown Javier Castellano 10–1
5 Midnight Bourbon Steve Asmussen Irad Ortiz Jr. 5–1
6 Rombauer Michael McCarthy Flavien Prat 12–1
7 France Go de Ina Hideyuki Mori Joel Rosario 20–1
8 Unbridled Honor Todd Pletcher Luis Saez 15–1
9 Risk Taking Chad Brown Jose Ortiz 15–1
10 Concert Tour Bob Baffert Mike Smith 5–2

The 2021 Preakness Stakes will air on Saturday, May 15 from 2 to 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN and from 5 to 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC. Coverage is also available to stream live on and on the NBC Sports app. Post time is 5:45 PM ET. I’ll post the results as soon as they are available.


Finish Program
Horse Trainer Jockey Morning
Line Odds[8]
1 6 Rombauer Michael W. McCarthy Flavien Prat 12–1 11.80 $1,000,000
2 5 Midnight Bourbon Steve Asmussen Irad Ortiz Jr. 5–1 3.10 3.6 $600,000
3 3 Medina Spirit Bob Baffert John Velazquez 9–5 2.40 5.6 $200,000
4 2 Keepmeinmind Robertino Diodoro David Cohen 15–1 14.50 9.7 $110,000
5 4 Crowded Trade Chad Brown Javier Castellano 10–1 8.50 12.4 $60,000
6 8 Unbridled Honor Todd Pletcher Luis Saez 15–1 13.70 17.2 $30,000
7 7 France Go de Ina Hideyuki Mori Joel Rosario 20–1 24.60 17.6
8 9 Risk Taking Chad Brown Jose Ortiz 15–1 14.30 23.5
9 10 Concert Tour Bob Baffert Mike Smith 5–2 3.70 34.2
10 1 Ram D. Wayne Lukas Ricardo Santana Jr. 30–1 15.90 36.8


Pgm Horse Win Place Show
6 Rombauer $25.60 $10.00 $5.20
5 Midnight Bourbon $4.60 $3.00
3 Medina Spirit $2.80
  • $1 Exacta (6–5) $49.30
  • $1 Trifecta (6–5–3) $162.70
  • $1 Superfecta (6–5–3–2) $1,025.50
  • $1 Super High Five (6–5–3–2–4) $4,857.80

No Triple Crown Winner this year.