Preakness Stakes Explained

The Preakness Stakes is an American Grade I stakes race 1-3/16 mile (1.91 km) thoroughbred horse race for three-year-old horses, held on the third Saturday in May each year at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. Colts and geldings carry 126 pounds (57 kg); fillies 121 lb (55 kg). The Preakness Stakes has been termed "The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans" because a horseshoe of black-eyed susans (Rudbeckia hirta), the state flower of Maryland, is traditionally placed around the winner's neck.


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 . Former 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 Stables in Preakness, Wayne Township, New Jersey who won the Dinner Party Stakes on the day Pimlico Race Course opened on October 25, 1870.

The first Preakness drew seven starters; John Chamberlain's three-year-old, Survivor, galloped home easily by 10 lengths, the largest margin of victory until 2004, winning a purse of $2,050.

In 1889, George "Spider" Anderson became the first African-American jockey to win the Preakness.

In 1890 Morris Park Racecourse in the Bronx, New York hosted the Preakness Stakes after which 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.

Evolution of the Triple Crown series

The Preakness is the second leg in American thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown series and almost always attracts the Kentucky Derby winner, some of the other horses that ran in the Derby, and often a few horses that did not start in the Derby. The Preakness is 1 3/16 miles, or 9 1/2 furlongs, compared to the Kentucky Derby, which is 1 1/4 miles. It is followed by the third leg, the Belmont Stakes, which is 1 1/2 miles.

Since 1931, the order of Triple Crown races has the Kentucky Derby first, followed by the Preakness Stakes and then the Belmont Stakes. Prior to 1931, eleven times the Preakness was run before the Derby. On May 12, 1917 and again on May 13, 1922, the Preakness and the Derby were run on the same day.

Running the race

Just after the horses for the Preakness are called to the post, the audience is invited to sing "Maryland, My Maryland," the official state song of Maryland. Traditionally, the United States Naval Academy Glee Club assembles in the Pimlico infield to lead the song.

As soon as the Preakness winner has been declared official, a painter climbs a ladder to the top of a replica of the Old Clubhouse cupola. S/he applies the colors of the victorious owner's silks on the jockey and horse that are part of the weather vane atop the infield structure. The horseshoe of black-eyed Susans is placed around the winning horse's neck at this time and a replica of the Woodlawn Vase is given to the winning horse's owner. Should that horse have also won the Kentucky Derby, speculation and excitement immediately begin to mount as to whether that horse will go on to win the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing at the Belmont Stakes in June.

The practice started in 1909 at Pimlico when a horse and rider weather vane sat at the top of the old Members' Clubhouse, which was constructed when Pimlico opened in 1870. The Victorian building was destroyed by fire in June 1966. A replica of the old building's cupola was built to stand in the Preakness winner's circle in the infield.

Winning the race

In 1917, the first "Woodlawn Vase" was awarded to the Preakness winner, who was not allowed to keep it. Eventually a half-size reproduction of the trophy was given to winners to keep permanently. The original trophy is kept at the Maryland Historical Society and brought to the Preakness race each year for the winner's presentation ceremony.

In 1918, 26 horses entered the race, and it was run in two divisions, providing for two winners that year. Currently, the race is limited to 14 horses.

In 1948, the Preakness was televised for the first time by CBS.

The Preakness has been run at seven different distances:

The leading Preakness winning jockeys are:

The leading Preakness winning trainers are:



Calumet Farm is both the leading breeder and owner of Preakness winners with seven each.

Set by Tank's Prospect in 1985 and equaled by Louis Quatorze in 1996 and Curlin in 2007, the time record for the current 1-3/16 miles (1.91 km) Preakness is 1:53 2/5 seconds. (Secretariat, the 1973 winner, was also credited with running 1:53 2/5 by the Daily Racing Form. However, the timer malfunctioned during that race, and Pimlico Race Course does not recognize that time, instead assigning Secretariat a time of 1:54 2/5.) The record victory margin is 11½ lengths, by Smarty Jones in 2004.

Four fillies have won the Preakness:

List of winners

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Dist. (Miles)
2008Big BrownKent DesormeauxRichard E. Dutrow, Jr.IEAH Stable & P. Pompa, Jr.1:54.801.1875
2007CurlinRobby AlbaradoSteve AsmussenStonestreet Stables et al1:53.461.1875
2006BernardiniJavier CastellanoTom AlbertraniDarley Stables1:54.651.1875
2005Afleet AlexJeremy RoseTimothy F. RitcheyCash is King Stable1:55.041.1875
2004Smarty JonesStewart ElliottJohn ServisSomeday Farm1:55.591.1875
2003Funny CideJose SantosBarclay TaggSackatoga Stable1:55.611.1875
2002War EmblemVictor EspinozaBob BaffertThe Thoroughbred Corp.1:56.401.1875
2001Point GivenGary StevensBob BaffertThe Thoroughbred Corp.1:55.401.1875
2000Red BulletJerry BaileyJoe OrsenoStronach Stables1:56.001.1875
1999CharismaticChris AntleyD. Wayne LukasBob & Beverly Lewis1:55.201.1875
1998Real QuietKent DesormeauxBob BaffertMichael E. Pegram1:54.801.1875
1997Silver CharmGary StevensBob BaffertBob & Beverly Lewis1:54.401.1875
1996Louis QuatorzePat DayNick ZitoC-C-H Partners1:53.401.1875
1995Timber CountryPat DayD. Wayne LukasOverbrook/Gainesway/Lewis1:54.401.1875
1994Tabasco CatPat DayD. Wayne LukasD. P. Reynolds & Overbrook1:56.401.1875
1993Prairie BayouMike E. SmithTom BohannanLoblolly Stable1:56.601.1875
1992Pine BluffChris McCarronTom BohannanLoblolly Stable1:55.601.1875
1991HanselJerry BaileyFrank L. BrothersLazy Lane Farms1:54.001.1875
1990Summer SquallPat DayNeil J. HowardDogwood Stable1:53.601.1875
1989Sunday SilencePat ValenzuelaCharlie WhittinghamH-G-W Partners1:53.801.1875
1988Risen StarEd DelahoussayeLouie Roussel IIIRoussel & R. Lamarque1:56.201.1875
1987AlyshebaChris McCarronJack Van BergD. & P. Scharbauer1:55.801.1875
1986Snow ChiefAlex SolisMelvin F. StuteGrinstead & Rochelle1:54.801.1875
1985Tank's ProspectPat DayD. Wayne LukasEugene V. Klein1:53.401.1875
1984Gate DancerAngel Cordero, Jr.Jack Van BergKenneth Opstein1:53.601.1875
1983Deputed TestamonyDonald Miller, Jr.J. William BonifaceBonita Farm1:55.401.1875
1982Aloma's RulerJack L. KaenelJohn Lenzini, Jr.Nathan Scherr1:55.401.1875
1981Pleasant ColonyJorge VelasquezJohn P. CampoBuckland Farm1:54.601.1875
1980CodexAngel Cordero, Jr.D. Wayne LukasTartan Stable1:54.201.1875
1979Spectacular BidRonnie FranklinBud DelpHawksworth Farm1:54.201.1875
1978AffirmedSteve CauthenLaz BarreraHarbor View Farm1:54.401.1875
1977Seattle SlewJean CruguetWilliam H. Turner, Jr.Karen L. Taylor1:54.401.1875
1976ElocutionistJohn L. LivelyPaul AdwellEugene C. Cashman1:55.001.1875
1975Master DerbyDarrel McHargueSmiley AdamsGolden Chance Farm1:56.401.1875
1974Little CurrentMiguel A. RiveraLou RondinelloDarby Dan Farm1:54.601.1875
1973SecretariatRon TurcotteLucien LaurinMeadow Stable1:54.401.1875
1972Bee Bee BeeEldon NelsonDel W. CarrollWilliam S. Farish III1:55.601.1875
1971Canonero IIGustavo AvilaJuan AriasEdgar Caibett1:54.001.1875
1970PersonalityEddie BelmonteJohn W. JacobsEthel D. Jacobs1:56.201.1875
1969Majestic PrinceBill HartackJohnny LongdenFrank M. McMahon1:55.601.1875
1968Forward PassIsmael ValenzuelaHenry ForrestCalumet Farm1:56.801.1875
1967DamascusBill ShoemakerFrank Y. Whiteley, Jr.Edith W. Bancroft1:55.201.1875
1966Kauai KingDon BrumfieldHenry ForrestFord Stable1:55.401.1875
1965Tom RolfeRon TurcotteFrank Y. Whiteley, Jr.Powhatan Stable1:56.201.1875
1964Northern DancerBill HartackHoratio LuroWindfields Farm1:56.801.1875
1963Candy SpotsBill ShoemakerMesh TenneyRex C. Ellsworth1:56.201.1875
1962Greek MoneyJohn L. RotzVirgil W. RainesBrandywine Stable1:56.201.1875
1961Carry BackJohnny SellersJack A. PriceKatherine Price1:57.601.1875
1960Bally AcheBobby UsseryJimmy PittTurfland1:57.601.1875
1959Royal OrbitWilliam HarmatzReggie CornellJacques Braunstein1:57.001.1875
1958Tim TamIsmael ValenzuelaHorace A. JonesCalumet Farm1:57.201.1875
1957Bold RulerEddie ArcaroJim FitzsimmonsWheatley Stable1:56.201.1875
1956FabiusBill HartackHorace A. JonesCalumet Farm1:58.401.1875
1955NashuaEddie ArcaroJim FitzsimmonsBelair Stud1:54.601.1875
1954Hasty RoadJohn H. AdamsHarry TrotsekHasty House Farm1:57.401.1875
1953Native DancerEric GuerinBill WinfreyAlfred G. Vanderbilt II1:57.801.1875
1952Blue ManConn McCrearyWoody StephensWhite Oak Stable1:57.401.1875
1951BoldEddie ArcaroPreston M. BurchBrookmeade Stable1:56.401.1875
1950Hill PrinceEddie ArcaroCasey HayesChristopher Chenery1:59.201.1875
1949CapotTed AtkinsonJohn M. Gaver, Sr.Greentree Stable1:56.001.1875
1948CitationEddie ArcaroHorace A. JonesCalumet Farm2:02.401.1875
1947FaultlessDouglas DodsonHorace A. JonesCalumet Farm1:59.001.1875
1946AssaultWarren MehrtensMax HirschKing Ranch2:01.401.1875
1945PolynesianWayne D. WrightMorris DixonGertrude T. Widener1:58.801.1875
1944PensiveConn McCrearyBen A. JonesCalumet Farm1:59.201.1875
1943Count FleetJohnny LongdenG. Donald CameronFannie Hertz1:57.401.1875
1942AlsabBasil JamesSarge SwenkeMrs. Albert Sabath1:57.001.1875
1941WhirlawayEddie ArcaroBen A. JonesCalumet Farm1:58.801.1875
1940BimelechFred A. SmithWilliam J. HurleyEdward R. Bradley1:58.601.1875
1939ChalledonGeorge SeaboLouis J. SchaeferWilliam L. Brann1:59.801.1875
1938DauberMaurice PetersRichard E. HandlenFoxcatcher Farms1:59.801.1875
1937War AdmiralCharley KurtsingerGeorge ConwayGlen Riddle Farm1:58.401.1875
1936Bold VentureGeorge WoolfMax HirschMorton L. Schwartz1:59.001.1875
1935OmahaWillie SaundersJim FitzsimmonsBelair Stud1:58.401.1875
1934High QuestRobert JonesRobert A. SmithBrookmeade Stable1:58.201.1875
1933Head PlayCharley KurtsingerThomas P. HayesMrs. Silas B. Mason2:02.001.1875
1932Burgoo KingEugene JamesH. J. ThompsonEdward R. Bradley1:59.801.1875
1931MateGeorge EllisJames W. HealyAlbert C. Bostwick1:59.001.1875
1930Gallant FoxEarl SandeJim FitzsimmonsBelair Stud2:00.601.1875
1929Dr. FreelandLouis SchaeferThomas J. HealeyWalter J. Salmon, Sr.2:01.601.1875
1928VictorianSonny WorkmanJames G. Rowe, Jr.Harry P. Whitney2:00.201.1875
1927BostonianWhitey AbelFred HopkinsHarry P. Whitney2:01.601.1875
1926DisplayJohn MaibenThomas J. HealeyWalter J. Salmon, Sr.1:59.801.1875
1925CoventryClarence KummerWilliam B. DukeGifford A. Cochran1:59.001.1875
1924Nellie MorseJohn MerimeeAlbert B. GordonBud Fisher1:57.201.1250
1923VigilBenny MarinelliThomas J. HealeyWalter J. Salmon, Sr.1:53.601.1250
1922PilloryLouis MorrisThomas J. HealeyRichard T. Wilson, Jr.1:51.601.1250
1921BroomspunFrank ColtilettiJames G. Rowe, Sr.Harry P. Whitney1:54.201.1250
1920Man o' WarClarence KummerLouis FeustelGlen Riddle Farm1:51.601.1250
1919Sir BartonJohnny LoftusH. Guy BedwellJ. K. L. Ross1:53.001.1250
1918Jack Hare Jr.Charles PeakFrank D. WeirW. E. Applegate1:53.401.1250
1918War CloudJohnny LoftusWalter B. JenningsA. Kingsley Macomber1:53.601.1250
1917KalitanE. HaynesBill HurleyEdward R. Bradley1:54.401.1250
1916DamroschLinus McAteeAlbert G. WestonJ. K. L. Ross1:54.801.1250
1915Rhine MaidenDouglas HoffmanFrank DeversEdward F. Whitney1:58.001.1250
1914HolidayAndy SchuttingerJ. S. HealyMrs. A. Barklie1:53.801.1250
1913BuskinJames ButwellJohn WhalenJohn Whalen1:53.401.1250
1912Colonel HollowayClarence TurnerDave WoodfordBeverwyck Stable1:56.601.1250
1911WatervaleEddie DuganJohn WhalenAugust Belmont, Jr.1:51.001.1250
1910LayminsterRoy EstepJ. S. HealyEdward B. Cassatt1:40.601.0000
1909EffendiWillie DoyleFrank C. FrisbieW. T. Ryan1:39.801.0000
1908Royal TouristEddie DuganAndrew J. JoynerHarry P. Whitney1:46.401.0625
1907Don EnriqueG. MountainJohn WhalenAugust Belmont, Jr.1:45.401.0398
1906WhimsicalWalter MillerTim J. GaynorTim J. Gaynor1:45.001.0398
1905CairngormW. DavisAndrew J. JoynerSydney Paget1:45.801.0398
1904Bryn MawrGene HildebrandW. Fred PresgraveGoughacres Stable1:44.201.0398
1903FlocarlineW. GannonH. C. RiddleM. H. Tichenor1:44.801.0398
1902Old EnglandL. JacksonGreen B. MorrisGreen B. Morris1:45.801.0398
1901The ParaderF. LandryThomas J. HealeyRichard T. Wilson, Jr.1:47.201.0398
1900HindusH. SpencerJohn H. MorrisGeorge J. Long1:48.401.0625
1899Half TimeR. ClawsonFrank McCabePhilip J. Dwyer1:47.001.0625
1898Sly FoxWillie SimmsHardy CampbellCharles F. Dwyer1:49.751.0625
1897Paul KauvarT. ThorpeT. P. HayesT. P. Hayes1:51.251.0625
1896MargraveHenry GriffinByron McClellandAugust Belmont, Jr.1:51.001.0625
1895BelmarFred TaralEdward FeakesPreakness Stables1:50.501.0625
1894AssigneeFred TaralWilliam LakelandJames & Foxhall Keene1:49.251.0625
1890MontagueW. MartinEdward FeakesPreakness Stables2:36.751.5000
1889BuddhistGeorge AndersonJohn W. RogersSam S. Brown2:17.501.2500
1888RefundFred LittlefieldR. Wyndham WaldenR. Wyndham Walden2:49.001.5000
1887DunboyneWilliam DonohueWilliam JenningsWilliam Jennings2:39.501.5000
1886The BardS. FisherJohn HugginsA. J. Cassatt2:45.001.5000
1885TecumsehJim McLaughlinCharles S. LittlefieldW. Donohue2:49.001.5000
1884Knight of EllerslieS. FisherThomas W. DoswellHancock/Doswell2:39.501.5000
1883JacobusGeorge BarbeeR. DwyerJames E. Kelley2:42.501.5000
1882VanguardTom CostelloR. Wyndham WaldenGeorge L. Lorillard2:44.501.5000
1881SauntererTom CostelloR. Wyndham WaldenGeorge L. Lorillard2:40.501.5000
1880GrenadaLloyd HughesR. Wyndham WaldenGeorge L. Lorillard2:40.501.5000
1879HaroldLloyd HughesR. Wyndham WaldenGeorge L. Lorillard2:40.501.5000
1878Duke of MagentaC. HollowayR. Wyndham WaldenGeorge L. Lorillard2:41.751.5000
1877CloverbrookC. HollowayJeter WaldenE. A. Clabaugh2:45.501.5000
1876ShirleyGeorge BarbeeW. BrownPierre Lorillard IV2:44.751.5000
1875Tom OchiltreeLloyd HughesR. Wyndham WaldenJohn F. Chamberlain2:43.501.5000
1874CulpepperWilliam DonohueH. GaffneyH. Gaffney2:56.501.5000
1873SurvivorGeorge BarbeeA. D. PryorJohn F. Chamberlain2:43.001.5000

A † designates a Triple Crown Winner

Note: D. Wayne Lukas swept the 1995 Triple Crown with two different horses.

In 2006, Kentucky Derby Winner Barbaro broke down in the first 100 yards of the Preakness. Bernardini went on to win the prestigious event. Barbaro survived his injuries and was cared for at the New Bolton Center of the University of Pennsylvania but was euthanized January 29, 2007. This year's ninth race is now called the Barbaro Stakes in his honor.

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