Horse racing reeks of tradition and Preakness Stakes (known as “The Preakness”) is no exception. Taking place in Maryland, the Preakness has been the middle stop for a shot the Triple Crown since 1931. Before that time, there was not consistency in when the races ran. Preakness Stakes was actually held on the same day as the Derby twice and Belmont Stakes once. The first true winner of the triple crown, Sir Barton, won in 1919 and ran the Preakness a mere four days after the Derby. The Triple Crown had not been named yet, but he is considered the first winner. The Preakness Stakes is run at Pimlico Race Course, the second oldest racetrack in the nation. It opened on October 25, 1870, and yes, Seabiscuit ran here. Built on a proposition made by Maryland’s governor Oden Bowie. He got racing friends to agree to race in two years time some of their horses who were currently just yearlings. While Saratoga and the American Jocky Club bid for the event, Bowie promised a model racetrack in Baltimore, and so Pimlico Race Course was born. And Preakness Stakes betting has been growing ever since. Originally built on 70 acres, the property has since expanded to 140 acres overlooking Jones Falls in Baltimore. The winner of the inaugural race was Milton Stanford’s Preakness out of seven horses. In 1894 the Preakness was ran at Gravesend in Brooklyn. It stayed out of Pimlico until 1908 when it returned to its home field permanently. Its distance of 1 and 3/16 miles was set in 1925. Tiffanys, created the vase given to the winner, the Woodlawn Vase, in 1860. In 1983 it was assessed at a value of $1 million dollars making it the most valuable trophy in American sports. The vase would live with the winner, starting in 1917, until the next race until 1953. When Native Dancer won, Vanderbilt’s wife decided she did not want the immense responsibility so now the winning owner is given a $30,000 sterling replica to keep while the real one stays in the Baltimore Museum of Art. It is brought to Pimlico field under guard for the annual running. The Woodlawn Vase had another interesting storage place at one point, buried in Woodlawn. At the outbreak of the Civil War, the Preakness was halted. Everyone was fearful the Vase would be melted down and turned into shot. They buried it until 1866 when the race started rolling again, much to the relief of Preakness Stakes betting. The winner also receives a blanket of Black-Eyed Susans, the state flower of Maryland. This 18x90 inch blanket takes many days to create, but it is not made of Black-Eyed Susans. These flowers do not bloom in Maryland until June, so instead they begin with 80 bunches of Viking daisies. The centers of the daisies are then daubed with black lacquer to give them the correct coloring. Another tradition is the painting of the weather vane. As soon as the Preakness has been declared, a painter goes to the top of the Old Clubhouse copula to change the weather vane. The colors of the winner’s silks are painted on jockey and horse and will stay until the race is run again. This tradition began in 1909 after the original weather vane was taken down by lightning; that is when the first horse and rider vane appeared at the Preakness. While the race has been run on Saturday since 1931, it has been run on every other day of the week except Sunday. In the 90’s, Pat Day set a record by winning the Preakness three times in a row. He has catalogued five Preakness wins, which puts him in a distant second place. Eddie Arcaro won 17 Preakness titles. Many will soon be able to follow the story of Secretariat via the new film coming out, but what should be known right now is he was the first horse to win the Triple Crown in a quarter of a century (1973). After Secretariat only two more horses won the crown, Seattle Slew in ’77 and Affirmed in ’78. At this point the Triple Crown has gone unclaimed since 1978, making it a 32-year dry spell. 11 horses have won at the Derby and the
Preakness but lost at the Belmont Stakes since 1978. All horse owners and betters are looking to end this drought; some think Super Saver might do it. th
This year marks the 135 running of the Preakness Stakes. As the middle event, it tends to be overlooked by the casual horse observer. The Derby sets the bar and the Belmont determines the finish, but if you donâ€™t win at the Preakness you canâ€™t take the crown. The elusive Triple Crown has almost become something of a holy grail in horse racing. Never before has there been such a long patch with no winner. Some say it can never be done again. The only way it can be different in 2010 is if Super Saver wins the Preakness, all eyes will be on him. As a Preakness Stakes bettor, who are you wagering on? Place your bets at www.sportsbook.com the king of Preakness Stakes betting.