Although it’s a couple of years younger than fellow Triple Crown event, the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness is now in its 145th year. The star draw is usually whatever horse gets home first at Louisville, giving itself a chance to write their name into racing folklore, just as Justify did in 2018.
The 2020 race for the Black-Eyed Susans, which is usually staged in May before the Belmont Stakes in New York, will now be staged at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland on Saturday, October 3.
We have dedicated pages for Preakness Stakes odds and contenders as the countdown begins to one of the most important races of the year.
We would hate it if all things in this great sport were the same, so while part of the success of the Breeders’ Cup is the fact it moves to a different track almost every year, events like Preakness retain their own sense of place by keeping Pimlico as its home.
The track, located in Baltimore, Maryland, can handle over 120,000 people on race day, and much like the Belmont Stakes in New York, it retains its traditions too; huge TV audiences are now used to hearing the crowd sing “Maryland, My Maryland” after the horses are called to post.
The traditions keep coming too. The winner is always draped in the yellow flowers made to recreate the appearance of the Black-Eyed Susan. As soon as this happens, a painter will climb the Old Clubhouse cupola to apply the winning owner’s colors to the horse sitting atop the weather vane.
It was thought the Preakness Stakes could be lost from this track, but after agreeing to a renovation, Pimlico will keep its most important event. Preakness 2019 post time was a special moment, and 2020 is expected to be the same given Pimlico’s unique atmosphere—long may it continue.
Keeping things easy for the Preakness, the three main bets types are:
WIN – Simple, really—your chosen horse must win for you to get paid. PLACE – To be successful here, your horse needs to finish in the first 2. SHOW – This time, your chosen horse must simply be in the first 3 to win the bet.
If you want to go with something a little more exotic, you can place an Exacta bet. The exacta is a bet predicting what horses will finish 1st and 2nd in the correct order, and if you’re successful, you will usually receive a pretty major payout.
More wager types are available, with our dedicated Preakness Stakes betting page giving you all the information you need.
Given that there have only been 13 winners of this series in racing history, it goes without saying that most years, by the time we get to New York for the Belmont Stakes, we already know the dream is dead.
With the vast majority of Derby winners attempting to follow-up in this event, the Preakness usually keeps the dream alive of us witnessing another Secretariat, Seattle Slew, or Affirmed. That may have been the case in the Preakness Stakes 2019 had Maximum Security been allowed to keep the Derby after the most controversial stewards inquiry in history.
The Preakness race is a unique test because it comes only two weeks after the Kentucky Derby. This year, of course, things are different as it’s being run on Saturday, October 3, with there being a possibility that Pimlico could crown the champion for once, and certain conditions have to be met.
As a Triple Crown race, this event is only open to three-year-old horses, and this year we will have seen them run in both the Belmont Stakes in New York and the Kentucky Derby. This time around, Primilica Race Course is the scene for the last of the Triple Crown events.
Colts and geldings must carry 126lbs with fillies hauling 121lbs, taking into account their 5lbs sex allowance. Gate positions are allocated in the week leading up to the race when the final field is known.
The purse is usually set at $1.5 million, but world events in 2020 have meant a reduction, but at $1 million, the Preakness Stakes is still valuable.
A guaranteed spot is given to the Kentucky Derby winner, a race we’ll witness before this one on Saturday, September 5.
There are, of course, entry costs involved. Owners need to find $15,000 to pass the entry box, and if their horse makes the cut, they face another $15,000 bill to be a starter. These fees, along with race sponsorship and TV money, help to boost the prize money.
Naturally, there is a safety limit of 14 starters at the gate, and when the race is oversubscribed, it comes down to the committee to cut the field down using grading. The runners can be ranked according to their earnings in graded stakes races or highest career earnings in non-restricted stakes races.
In Europe, horses are generally given a more gentle prep before peaking big time on the day of a classic. However, in the States, it is hugely important to have horses run in Grade I events for big money as early and as often as is safe—just to make sure they can make the final cut.
Thankfully, long gone are the days of needing to be at the track or having to place your wager and then waiting for the result to hit one news service or another. Betting the Preakness and watching it live is now easier than ever.
NBC Sports will once again be carrying live TV coverage of the event, and it should be quite a show to see. Leading up to the race, we will see all the traditions play out and the latest hero being crowned.
Along with the live TV coverage, there will be a chance to watch the event via live streaming. The 145th Preakness can be streamed through NBC Sports Live Extra or by using the NCB Sports Live Extra App for mobile devices.
NBC’s online coverage mirrors their live televised coverage, starting around 4 hours before post time. You may simply be asked for your TV provider and a password to access the online coverage.
TVG account holders will be able to stream the TVG coverage of Preakness day online via the website.
There have been some great moments in the Triple Crown races over the years, especially in the Preakness. Some of the highlights have been:
Having run well in a disruptive Kentucky Derby, War of Will came into the event well fancied, and he rewarded supporters by bursting through a small gap at the 8th pole to stretch clear and take the 144th running.
Having only made his debut on the track in 2018, Justify defied tradition to storm to a Kentucky Derby success before backing that up here. Afterward, he showed huge tenacity in the Belmont Stakes to become Triple Crown champion.
This outstanding Triple Crown winner came and utterly demolished the field by seven lengths—a modern sporting hero.
Having already beaten Kentucky Derby favorite Bodemeister two weeks earlier, he went and did it again for Doug O’Neill but was denied the chance of winning the Triple Crown due to injury.
After almost unseating his rider when bumping into Scrappy T around the turn, Afleet Alex and his rider kept their composure to scorch home and win by five lengths.
Races at Pimlico don’t get any closer than this! With both Sunday Silence and Easy Goer entering the stretch neck and neck, they remained that way right to the wire, and it was only the fact that the latter named horse lifted his head right at the death that gave Sunday Silence the win.
It’s not really this win alone that makes it special, but more that Affirmed went on to become a great Triple Crown winner. Furthermore, he beat the same horse (Alydar) on all occasions and, in fact, on seven of their unprecedented ten battles.
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