The Preakness is the second stage of the world renowned Triple Crown a highly prestigious race which attracts thousands of spectators and bidders. Also known as "The Run for the Black-eyed Susans" due to the horseshoe of flowers which will adorn the winner, The Preakness Stakes had its beginnings in 1873. The Preakness is held annually in May at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland.
The Preakness Stakes is a thoroughbred horse race covering a distance of 1.91 km or 1 3/16 mile. Three-year-old colts, geldings and fillies compete annually in the race and carry the weights of 57kg/126lb for colts and geldings; 55kg/121lb for fillies. This race is the shortest leg of the Triple Crown. The winner of the Kentucky Derby is certain to be competing along with others from that race as well as newcomers. Following the Preakness Stakes is the much longer Belmont Stakes.
The Preakness Stakes was introduced to American horse racing in 1873 at Pimlico Race Course’s first spring race. It was named after the winner of the Dinner Party Stakes, Preakness, by Governor Bowie. Seven horses gathered to compete in this newly established thoroughbred horse racing event. Survivor, owned by John Chamberlain, won the Preakness by an impressive ten lengths, a winning margin which was only beaten in 2004. From 1890 to 1908 the race was held at Morris Park in the Bronx and Gravesend of New York. Since then it has been consecutively held at Pimlico Racecourse. Following the horses’ call to the post, spectators burst into song, singing “Maryland, My Maryland” whilst the horses enter the course.
Winners of the Preakness Stakes horse race are presented with a replica of the Woodlawn Vase. This trophy was first awarded in 1917 as a floating trophy but later a half-size reproduction was created to leave with winners. The original Woodland Vase is located in the Baltimore Museum of Art and is used annually at the presentation ceremony of the Preakness Stakes. Once a winner is officially declared, a painter clambers up to the weather vane on top of the Clubhouse cupola where he paints the jockey and horse’s silks in the winner’s colors. The 2006 Preakness Stakes race was won by Bernardini. Sadly, Barbaro, the Preakness favorite broke his leg soon after exiting the starting gate.
The Preakness Stakes is one of the most exciting horse races on the calendar, one where all are rooting for the Kentucky Derby winner and bringing champions much closer to the Triple Crown title.