The Preakness Stakes is run at historic Pimlico Race Course the third Saturday of May each year and is the second jewel of racing’s Triple Crown, run two weeks after the Kentucky Derby and three weeks prior to the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park.
The Preakness is the shortest of the Triple Crown races, contested at 1 3/16 miles. The Kentucky Derby is run at 1 ¼ miles while the Belmont Stake is the longest of the three races at 1 ½ miles.
The race was first contested in 1873, with Survivor trouncing his six foes by ten lengths, a record winning margin that held up until 2004 when Smarty Jones won by 11 ½ lengths.
The Preakness was not always contested at Pimlico. It was run at Morris Park in New York in 1890. The Preakness was run for 15 years at the Gravesend track in Brooklyn, New York. The race returned home to Pimlico in 1909.
In 1918 the Preakness produced two winners, and it was not a deadheat. The race was run in divisions, the only American classic race to ever be split. The winners were War Clout and Jack Hare Jr.
While the Kentucky Derby usually offers a field of 20, the Preakness is limited to 14 starters, and usually runs truer to form than the Run for the Roses.
While we have seen two Derby winners that have paid over $100.00 since 2005, the biggest prices we have seen in Baltimore since 1986 are Bernardini, who returned his backers $27.80 in 2006, and Shackleford, who paid $27.20 in 2011.
Rachel Alexandra became the first filly to win the Preakness since 1924 when she beat the boys in 2009, returning her fans $5.60 for a $2.00 wager.
Preakness Stakes Winners 2000-2012 with $2 payoffs:
2012: I’ll Have Another $8.40
2011: Shackleford $27.20
2010: Lookin At Lucky $6.80
2009: Rachel Alexandra $5.60
2008: Big Brown $2.40
2007: Curlin $8.80
2006: Bernardini $27.80
2005: Afleet Alex $8.60
2004: Smarty Jones $3.40
2003: Funny Cide $5.80
2002: War Emblem $7.60
2001: Point Given $6.60
2000: Red Bullet $14.40