10 Little-Known Facts About the Preakness Stakes

Written By Darren Cooper on 05/19/2022
Colorado horse betting, Preakness Stakes 2022

Preakness 147 is Saturday.

The venerable race at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore is the second chapter of horse racing’s famed Triple Crown.

Post time is 5:01 p.m. (MT), and the race airs on NBC.

There will be no Triple Crown winner this year. After shocking the world in the Kentucky Derby, Rich Strike has opted out of the race, and will perhaps run in the Belmont Stakes in three weeks.

We shall see.

In the meantime, it’s a nine-horse Preakness field that features a champion filly, Secret Oath, and the runner-up in the Kentucky Derby, Epicenter.

You don’t need to be in Maryland to bet on the Preakness.

Colorado horse bettors have several options.

Centennial State residents can place their bets in person at Bally’s Arapahoe Park, the state’s lone operating racetrack.

Wagering also is available at the state’s 11 legal off-track betting facilities. Among those OTB locales is the Bally’s Black Hawk Casino DraftKings sportsbook, located at 300 Main St.

In addition to in-person betting, you can easily hit the TVG app (click link below) from the comfort of your couch.

You can also wow your friends with these 10 facts they didn’t know about the Preakness Stakes.

Get Up to $200 Back If Your First Bet Loses

1. It’s a sprint, not a marathon

In the Triple Crown races, the Preakness is the short one at 1 3/16 miles.

By comparison, the Kentucky Derby is 1 1/4 miles and the Belmont is 1 1/2 miles.

Think of it like as track meet, the Kentucky Derby is a middle distance, the Preakness a sprint and the Belmont is a marathon.

It takes a special type of horse to win all three. That’s why there have only been 13 horses to do it in history.

2. The (fake) black-eyed Susans

We all know the Kentucky Derby is the Run for the Roses, with the winner draped in red roses in the winner’s circle.

In the Preakness, officials adorn the winner with black-eyed Susans, the state flower of Maryland.

One problem is, black-eyed Susans bloom in summer. So what you see at the end of the race are Viking poms with the center dyed black.

3. Girl power

Six fillies have won the Preakness Stakes.

Secret Oath is attempting to be the seventh.

The race went 85 years between female winners until Rachel Alexandra won in 2009 just edging Derby champ Mine That Bird.

In 2020, Swiss Skydiver beat Authentic by a neck in an epic two-horse duel. That race took place in October due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fillies only carry 121 pounds in a race compared to 126 by the males.

Meanwhile, no female jockey has ever won the Preakness.

4. Older than the Derby

The first Preakness Stakes was run in May 1873. However, if you do the math you realize that 147 races don’t sync up.

That’s because there were years that were lost around 1890 and there are no records of the Preakness running.

So while the first Kentucky Derby was run in 1875, it claims to have been contested more times than the Preakness.

5. Not just Maryland

So….those lost Preakness races, research indicates that for a 15-year span the Preakness was held at Gravesend Race Track near Coney Island, N.Y. from 1894 to 1908.

It came back to Pimlico in 1909.

6. The fastest time (probably)

Secretariat, the GOAT horse, was originally clocked at 1:53.4 when he won in 1973.

But technology has changed.

And in 2012, the Maryland Racing Commission used a new timing system to show that Secretariat covered the 1 3/16 miles in 1:53.0.

7. Master of the longshot

Master Derby is a great name for a horse, but he was a tepid fourth in the 1975 Kentucky Derby.

In the Preakness, Master Derby went off with  23-1 odds but beat Derby champion Foolish Pleasure by a length.

He still stands as the longest shot to ever win the Preakness.

8. What’s the luckiest post position?

Horse racing fans like to use any tidbit of luck or coincidence. This year’s Preakness features nine horses.

Post position 6 (this year it has long shot Happy Jack) has produced the most winners in Preakness history with 16 coming from that chute.

Post 7 (Armagnac) and Post 4 (Secret Oath) have each produced 14 winners. Is that a good omen?

Twelve winners have come from Posts 1, 2, 3 and 5.

9. Painting the weathervane

A few minutes after the race ends, NBC will pan up to the weathervane at Pimlico.

There, a painter will already be hard at work painting the colors of the winning horse and his (or her) number.

It’s the only Triple Crown race with such a tradition.

Artwork is a theme at Pimlico. There are seven murals located all around the grandstand.

10. Not a vase for flowers

The owners of the Preakness winner are awarded the 3-foot tall, 30-pound silver Woodland Vase, which was created by Tiffany and Co. in 1860.

The prize, valued at $1 million, went from owner to owner until 1953 when the owners of Native Dancer decided they didn’t want to be personally responsible for the jewel.

Now winners get a sterling replica of the vase while the original is held at the Baltimore Museum of Art.

Photo by AP / Nick Wass
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Darren Cooper

Darren Cooper was born and raised in Southern Louisiana, just a short pirogue ride away from New Orleans. He started his journalism career at the New Orleans Times-Picayune and has been a writer and columnist in New Jersey since 1998. He's won 14 statewide press awards and earned his first Associated Press Sports Editors Top 10 award in 2022.

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