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What is the major horse race in Maryland?

The major horse race in Maryland is the Preakness Stakes. The Preakness Stakes is the second leg of the American Triple Crown of thoroughbred horse racing. It is a Grade I stakes race held annually in May at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. The Preakness is 1 3/16 miles, or 9.5 furlongs, compared to the Kentucky Derby, which is 1 1/4 miles. The Preakness has a rich history and is an important part of the Maryland sports and entertainment scene.

History of the Preakness Stakes

The Preakness Stakes was first run in 1873 at Pimlico Race Course. It was named after a horse called Preakness who won the Dinner Party Stakes on the day Pimlico opened in 1870. The Maryland Jockey Club decided to name their new race after Preakness as a way to commemorate his win. In the early years, the Preakness was run under various conditions and distances before settling into its current 1 3/16 mile format in 1925. Some key moments in Preakness history include:

First Triple Crown Winner

In 1919, Sir Barton became the first horse to win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes, now known as the Triple Crown.

InfieldFest Begins

In 2009, Pimlico Race Course created InfieldFest, a music festival held in the Preakness infield on Preakness Day. Popular music acts perform throughout the day during Preakness festivities.

American Pharoah

In 2015, American Pharoah won the Preakness Stakes en route to becoming the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years. His historic Triple Crown win at the Belmont Stakes ended the long drought between Triple Crown winners.

Details of the Preakness Stakes

Here are some key details to know about the Preakness Stakes:


Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. Pimlico opened in 1870 and has hosted the Preakness every year since 1873.


1 3/16 miles or 9.5 furlongs




Third Saturday in May


Over 130,000 spectators attended in 2022


The 2022 Preakness purse was $1.5 million. The Preakness purse has steadily increased over the years and is now comparable to other Triple Crown races.

2022 Payout Structure

Finish Payout
1st $900,000
2nd $300,000
3rd $165,000
4th $90,000
5th $45,000

Post Time

Post time for the Preakness Stakes is 6:01 p.m. ET

TV Coverage

NBC provides live coverage of the Preakness Stakes as part of their Triple Crown broadcasting rights.

Preakness Traditions & Experience

The Preakness is known for its exciting traditions and party atmosphere. Here are some of the unique Preakness traditions:

The Black-Eyed Susan

The Black-Eyed Susan is the official drink of the Preakness. It is made with vodka, St. Germain, orange juice, and grapefruit juice.

The Woodlawn Vase

The Woodlawn Vase is the trophy presented to the Preakness winner. Donated in 1860, it is one of the oldest sporting trophies in America.

Preakness Hats

Elaborate and creative hats are a fashion tradition among female spectators. Big, showy hats are a signature part of the Preakness experience.

InfieldFest Concert

The InfieldFest concert in the Preakness infield provides an epic party atmosphere with live music, drinks, and revelry. Top artists like Post Malone, 21 Savage, and Kygo have performed.

Bring Your Own Seat

Many spectators in the Preakness infield bring their own seat or piece of furniture to set up camp for the day. Couches, inflatable furniture, and homemade seating contraptions create a relaxed, fun vibe.

Notable Moments in Preakness History

The Preakness has been the stage for many memorable moments in horse racing history. Here are some of the most notable Preakness events:

2019 – War of Will Redemption

In 2019, War of Will won the Preakness after being interfered with and losing his chance at the Kentucky Derby. His Preakness win was a redemption story.

2018 – Justify Starts Triple Crown Bid

Justify won the 2018 Preakness Stakes to keep his Triple Crown hopes alive after first winning the Kentucky Derby. He went on to win the Belmont and become the 13th Triple Crown winner ever.

2007 – Curlin’s Preakness Win

Curlin put forth a memorable performance in 2007, when he won the Preakness Stakes by 4 1/2 lengths on his way to Horse of the Year honors.

2004 – Smarty Jones Can’t Complete Triple Crown

Undefeated Smarty Jones won the 2004 Preakness Stakes and brought major excitement for a potential Triple Crown. But he fell short in his Triple Crown bid, losing in the Belmont Stakes. His Preakness win remains a fan favorite moment.

2001 – Point Given Romps

Point Given delivered an astonishing performance in 2001, when he romped to a dominating 5 1/2 length win in the Preakness before falling short of the Triple Crown at the Belmont.

Winning Owners, Trainers & Jockeys

Certain owners, trainers, and jockeys have found repeated success and victories in the Preakness Stakes. Here are some of the top winners:


Owner Number of Wins
Calumet Farm 8
Harry P. Whitney 6
Edward F. Simms 5


Trainer Number of Wins
R. Wyndham Walden 7
D. Wayne Lukas 6
Bob Baffert 7


Jockey Number of Wins
Eddie Arcaro 6
Pat Day 6
Victor Espinoza 3

Recent Preakness Winners (2010-2022)

Here are the last 13 Preakness Stakes winners and key facts:

Year Horse Jockey Fun Facts
2022 Early Voting Jose Ortiz – Didn’t run in Kentucky Derby
– Held off favorite Epicenter
2021 Rombauer Flavien Prat – Won at Preakness Stakes odds of 11-1
2020 Swiss Skydiver Robby Albarado – 1st filly to win since Rachel Alexandra (2009)
2019 War of Will Tyler Gaffalione – Won after tumultuous Kentucky Derby
2018 Justify Mike Smith – Completed Triple Crown at Belmont
2017 Cloud Computing Javier Castellano – Won with fast late charge
2016 Exaggerator Kent Desormeaux – Won by 3 1/2 lengths
2015 American Pharoah Victor Espinoza – Ended Triple Crown drought
2014 California Chrome Victor Espinoza – Popular horse won by 1 1/2 lengths
2013 Oxbow Gary Stevens – Won Preakness after 6th in Kentucky Derby
2012 I’ll Have Another Mario Gutierrez – Won Kentucky Derby/Preakness, injury before Belmont
2011 Shackleford Jesus Castanon – Wire-to-wire win
2010 Lookin At Lucky Martin Garcia – Baffert trained back-to-back Preakness winners

Handicapping the Preakness Stakes

Handicapping and betting on the Preakness Stakes is an exciting challenge for horseplayers. Here are some key factors to consider when handicapping the Preakness field:

Kentucky Derby Performance

How a horse ran in the Kentucky Derby two weeks earlier provides important insights on current form. Horses that competed well in the Derby often move forward into strong Preakness efforts.

Running Style

Pace and running style can be a major factor in the Preakness. The shorter distance and sharper turns of Pimlico suit horses with tactical early speed. Deep closers sometimes are compromised by the racetrack profile.

Jockey Change

Keep a close eye on any jockey changes from a horse’s last race, which can signify new tactics or improved circumstances.

Pimlico Record

Some horses show an affinity for the Pimlico racetrack surface and tight turns. Past performances over the track can give clues about horses for the Preakness.

Fresh Horses

Runners who did not compete in the Kentucky Derby often have an edge in the Preakness with added rest and reduced fatigue. These “new shooters” can upset classic contenders exiting the Derby.

How to Bet on the Preakness Stakes

For fans wanting to bet and make wagers on the Preakness Stakes, here is a quick guide on how to bet:

Win Bet

A win bet requires picking the horse that wins the race. This is the most basic wager.

Place Bet

A place bet means picking a horse to finish 1st or 2nd. This increases chances of getting some return.

Show Bet

A show bet involves picking a horse to finish 1st, 2nd, or 3rd for a payout. Only used if uncertain of a win.


An exacta requires picking the 1st and 2nd place finishers in exact order. Pays out handsomely but is challenging to predict.


A trifecta means picking the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishers in exact order. Extremely difficult but big payoff if successful.


Picking the 1st through 4th place finishers in exact order. A risky but jackpot-type wager in the Preakness.

Boxing Bets

You can “box” exacta, trifecta and superfecta bets to cover all possible finish orders of your selections. This increases chances of winning but costs more.

Where to Watch & Bet on the Preakness

For those who want to watch and wager on the Preakness Stakes, here are some of the best places to do so:

At Pimlico Race Course

Watching live at Pimlico allows you to experience the excitement and pageantry firsthand. Reserve seats early as crowds are massive. On-track betting windows are available.

Maryland Sportsbooks

Preakness betting is offered through Maryland sportsbooks like FanDuel Sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook, PointsBet, and BetMGM Sportsbook. Must be located in Maryland to bet.

Online Racebooks

Websites like TVG, TwinSpires, BetAmerica, NYRA Bet, and AmWager legally allow Preakness wagering from most states. Great option when not in Maryland.

Las Vegas Racebooks

Major Las Vegas casinos like Caesars Palace, Westgate SuperBook, and Wynn all post Preakness odds and accept bets on Preakness Day. Atmospheric option for race fans in Vegas.

Off-Track Betting (OTB) Sites

Maryland has OTB sites like Laurel Park, Rosecroft Raceway, and Horseshoe Casino where you can watch and bet on simulcast racing like the Preakness in a sportsbook-like setting.

Impact on Maryland & Pimlico

The Preakness Stakes provides an immense economic boost to Maryland and Baltimore on Preakness Day. Here are some of the major impacts:

Total Economic Impact

Direct Spending by Attendees $24 million
Total Economic Impact $52 million

Attendance & Tourism

The Preakness attracts over 130,000 spectators to Baltimore, generating massive hotel occupancy and tourism dollars. Out-of-state visitors make up 36% of attendees.

Jobs & Employment

The Preakness bolsters over 500 jobs at Pimlico and supports hundreds more in hospitality and tourism employment. Day-of staff totals over 5,000 workers.

Supporting the Maryland Racing Industry

The prestige of the Preakness helps sustain Maryland’s entire horse racing and breeding industries and infrastructure. Total impact exceeds $400 million.

Future of Pimlico

The aging Pimlico facility requires major renovations for ongoing Preakness viability, estimated around $500 million. Public/private funding partnerships are being explored.

Concluding Thoughts

The Preakness Stakes and its over 150 years of history provide an iconic centerpiece to the Maryland sports scene every May. It has evolved into a mass cultural event that drives tourism and serves as the ultimate tribute to thoroughbred racing in Maryland. The traditions, revelry, and excitement of Preakness Day leave an indelible impression on all who experience it. With anticipation already building for the next running, the Preakness looks poised to continue thriving as a world-class sporting and entertainment spectacle in 2023 and well into the future.