Preakness Stakes – A Quick Guide To Pimlico Racecourse

We can already start looking forward to the 2017 renewal of the Preakness Stakes (Saturday 20th May), one of America’s most-important races which involves the very-best 3-year-olds on the US circuit. The race is held at Pimlico Racecourse. Here is a quick guide to this famous racing venue.

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Preakness & The Dinner Party Stakes

Racing at Pimlico dates back to 1870, when a horse called Preakness won the Dinner Party Stakes. 3 years after this victory, the race that carries his name was first run.

Of all the great races that are held at Pimlico, the Preakness Stakes is by far the most significant. It always takes place in May and it is a G1 race for 3-year-olds. It is run on the dirt track and fillies receive a 5 pounds allowance for this 9.5 furlong encounter.

The Triple Crown

While hugely important in its own right, the Preakness Stakes also forms one leg of the coveted Triple Crown. The other races are the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes.

The Preakness is steeped in tradition and the crowd always sings a rendition of ‘Maryland, My Maryland’ just before the horses come under starters orders. When the winner has officially been declared, a painter will scale a ladder to paint the winner’s silks onto a replica weather-vain that features a horse and jockey, on the roof of the old clubhouse.

Fun-Loving Spectators

The event has long been associated with heavy-drinking amongst the spectators! This was largely due to a policy of allowing people to bring their own drinks along to the racecourse. Perhaps inevitably, this came to a close after too much footage of drunken behaviour was broadcast on live television. Nowadays, spectators have to buy their drinks at the on-course bars. Needless to say, this has not stopped a lot of people getting rather intoxicated on Preakness Stakes Day!

Another important Pimlico fixture is the G2 Dixie Stakes. First run in 1870, this is a 9 furlong race for horses aged at least 3 years. There is a $300,000 purse on offer and the event takes place on the turf track.

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