History of the Preakness Stakes
The Preakness Stakes, along with the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes, is the second race of the coveted Thoroughbred Triple Crown. The race is often referred to as the run for the Black Eyed Susan’s. This is because the winner of the race will be draped with flower wreath of Black Eyed Susan’s. The race is always run on the third Saturday in May at the historical Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore Maryland. The race is open to both fillies and colts; however, the fillies will usually compete in the Triple Crown races that are not open to the colts. Fillies that do choose to run in the race will be required to carry a weight of 121 pounds, while the colts will have to carry 126 pounds.
The Preakness Stakes will almost always attract the winner of the Kentucky Derby because that is the only horse that will be able to win the Triple Crown. There will often be some of the other horses that were entered in the Kentucky Derby, along with a few horses that did not run in the Kentucky Derby. The Preakness Stakes is the shortest of the three Triple Crown races at a length of nine furlongs. The Kentucky Derby is ten furlongs, while the Belmont is the longest of the three races at twelve furlongs.
The Preakness Stakes was first run in 1873 and is named after a Thoroughbred race horse named Preakness. This horse won the Dinner Party Stakes on October 25, 1870, which was the day that Pimlico Race Course opened. The former Governor of Maryland named the race in honor of the colt.
The first Preakness Stakes that was held in 1873 only had seven starters; however, the horse that won the race, Survivor, set a record that would stand until the year of 2004. The record that Survivor set was the largest margin of victory, which was ten lengths. This record was broken in 2004 by Smarty Jones when he won the race by eleven lengths.
One of the oldest traditions surrounding the Preakness Stakes is the changing of the colors on the weather vane at the top of the cupola in the infield. As soon as the results of the race are official, a painter will apply the colors of silks of the winning jockey to the jockey atop the weather vane, were they will remain until the next year’s winner of the Preakness Stakes is crowned.
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