Preakness Stakes Information

The Preakness Stakes is a major horse race in the United States that, along with the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes, forms the US Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing. Attendance at the Preakness Stakes is very high, second in North America only to the Kentucky Derby. It's one of the oldest races with a long history and many traditions. We provide more information below, along with details of the race.

Race Details

The Preakness Stakes is a Grade I stakes race held in Baltimore, Maryland at the Pimlico Racecourse. It's run on a dirt track over a distance of 9.5 furlongs, just under one and a quarter miles (or two kilometers). Three-year-old Thoroughbreds can enter the race whether they are colts or fillies, and there's a prize pool of $1 million. Colts carry a weight of 126 lbs. and fillies carry 121 lbs. The race is held on the third Saturday in May, exactly two weeks after the Kentucky Derby; it's the second of the three races in the Triple Crown.

History & Traditions of the Preakness Stakes

The Preakness Stakes was founded in 1873, not long after the Pimlico Racecourse opened in 1870. On the day that the racecourse opened, a horse named Preakness won the Dinner Party Stakes, and it is that horse after which the Maryland Governor named the Preakness Stakes. The race was held on May 27th, 1873 with just seven runners. It was won by Survivor, and a purse of just over $2,000 was awarded. Interestingly, Survivor won by 10 lengths from the second horse which has remained the largest margin of victory for over 100 years.

A couple of other racecourses have hosted the Preakness Stakes since it was first formed. It was held at Morris Park Racecourse in New York in 1890; between 1894 and 1908, it was run at Gravesend Racecourse also in New York. Since 1909, it has been held exclusively at Pimlico. In 1917 and 1922, the Preakness Stakes was held on the same day as the Kentucky Derby.

As you would expect from a race that has been around for so long, there are several traditions connected to the Preakness Stakes. The audience will usually sing along to the Maryland state song, Maryland, My Maryland, just before the race starts, led by the Baltimore Colts' Marching Band. Another tradition that began in 1909 involves the horse and jockey weather vane that used to be on top of the old Members' Clubhouse. Immediately after the race, a painter would adorn this weather vane with the racing colors of the owner of the winning horse. The Members' Clubhouse burned down in 1966, but the tradition continues on a replica of the weather vane constructed in the winner's circle.

Perhaps the most famous tradition of the Preakness Stakes is the awarding of a blanket of flowers to the winning horse. The original proposal was that these flowers should be black-eyed Susans, the official state flower of Maryland. However, the Preakness Stakes takes place before these flowers come into bloom. As such, a replica of black-eyed Susans is used: yellow flowers with added black lacquer. This is why the Preakness Stakes is also known as "the race for the black-eyed Susans." Originally, the Woodlawn Vase was presented to the winner of the race, but they could not keep it. Nowadays, race winners are awarded with a reproduction of the Woodlawn Vase which they can retain.

Betting on the 2018 Preakness Stakes

The easiest way to bet on the Preakness Stakes is to use a horse racing site, and most of the top ones will offer betting markets on this major race. A little nearer the time of the 2018 Preakness Stakes, we will provide a betting preview on our blog section. Please bookmark it and check back for our views on the race.

Recent Winners

The last 10 winners of the Preakness Stakes are as follows:

  • 2017 - Cloud Computing. Ridden by Javier Castellano and trained by Chad Brown.
  • 2016 - Exaggerator. Ridden by Kent Desormeaux and trained by J. Keith Desormeaux.
  • 2015 - American Pharoah. Ridden by Victor Espinoza and trained by Bob Baffert.
  • 2014 - California Chrome. Ridden by Victor Espinoza and trained by Art Sherman.
  • 2013 - Oxbow. Ridden by Gary Stevens and trained by D. Wayne Lukas.
  • 2012 - I'll Have Another. Ridden by Mario Guiterrez and trained by Doug O'Neill.
  • 2011 - Shackleford. Ridden by Jesus Castanon and trained by Dale Romans.
  • 2010 - Lookin At Lucky. Ridden by Martin Garcia and trained by Bob Baffert.
  • 2009 - Rachel Alexendra. Ridden by Cavin Borel and trained by Steve Asmussen.
  • 2008 - Big Brown. Ridden by Kent Desormeaux and trained by Richard Dutrow.