The third Saturday of May is just around the corner, which means it’s almost time for the 140th running of the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore. One of the world’s most prominent horse races and the second leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes is expected to draw many of the world’s most famous thoroughbred horses, their celebrated trainers, jockeys and owners and more than 120,000 spectators. If you’re thinking of venturing to Baltimore to watch the Preakness Stakes this year, you have the opportunity to see one of the greatest sporting events in the world. Here are just five reasons why you should go to the Preakness Stakes this year.
Second Leg Of Horse Racing’s Triple Crown
The Preakness Stakes is one of world’s most prominent horse races and the second leg of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Horse Racing, representing the premier award of the sport. The race, inaugurated in 1873, is held at Pimlico Race Course, the second oldest racetrack in the country about eight miles northwest of downtown Baltimore. Attending this year’s Preakness Stakes may also give visitors a possible chance to witness history, if a winning horse goes on to win the Triple Crown for the first time since Affirmed won it all in 1978. In the history of the Triple Crown, only 11 horses have managed to win all three legs.
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Preakness Week Events
A number of events will be held during Preakness Week, beginning with a Preakness Kickoff Concert, featuring The Cadillac Three on Saturday, May 9. From Tuesday, May 12, through Friday, May 15 visitors have the rare opportunity to witness the Preakness contenders’ morning workouts with a free 20-minute guided walking tour. Other crowd pleasing events of the week include the Preakness Post Position Draw on Wednesday, May 13, Black-Eyed Susan Day in honor of one of Pimlico’s oldest stakes races and named after the official state flower and Infieldfest on the Pimlico Race Course prior to Preakness Stakes on Saturday, May 16, with Dutch DJ Armin van Burren heading the lineup of music artists.
Preakness Day is a spectacular event featuring some of the world’s finest thoroughbreds and 12 races, including the 114th running of the Longines Dixie-Stakes Gil with a purse of $400,000 and the 140th running of the Preakness Stakes with a guaranteed purse of $1.5 million. While the day’s final race is the main event, there is so much more to see and do at Pimlico. Visitors can enjoy plenty of outstanding food and beverages, including fine dining at the Terrace Dining Room or buffet-styled cuisine at the Hall of Fame Room and the Sports Palace. Additionally, fashion at the Preakness is much like the Kentucky Derby, with colorful outfits for both men and women, along with the sometimes flamboyant but visually striking hats. Of course, the grand procession of the magnificent horses and the world-class jockeys to the starting gate is a spectacle all in itself.
Wagering On The Horse Races
One other prominent aspect of attending a horse race is the ability to place a bet on a lucky horse. Of course, gambling at the Preakness is not mandatory but wagers can be placed on horses for as little as $1 for superfectas (picking the first four finishers) or $2 for a regular bet. People interested in a wager while attending the Preakness Stakes should visit the official Preakness website for information on how to wager and other tips like understanding how odds are assigned and what to say at the window when placing a bet.
Visitors to Baltimore have several options for lodging, dining and sightseeing. Also know as Charm City, Baltimore is home to many historical attractions, including Fort McHenry, whose battle during the War of 1812 inspired the writing of the National anthem, USS Constellation, the first cathedral in America, Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum and the Star Spangled Banner Flag House. Among other prominent attractions in the city are the observation tower at Baltimore’s World Trade Center, Baltimore Museum of Art featuring the world’s largest collection of Matisse paintings and Camden Yards, home of the Baltimore Orioles.
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Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he was awarded a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on Examiner.com Examiner.com.