Preakness stakes

Let’s Go See A Man About A Horse…….

Kentucky has its Derby, New York has the Belmont Stakes, and Baltimore hosts the Preakness Stakes.  Together, these three thoroughbred horse races make up the Triple Crown--the three most prestigious of races in the country.  Preakness is the second "jewel" of that crown, as it is held after the Derby and before the Belmont Stakes.

The Preakness Stakes is one of Maryland’s oldest sporting events, and predates the Kentucky Derby by two years. The history, the spectacle, and the immense fortunes that ride or fall each year excite many across the country. 

Photo credit: Kim Hairston of the Baltimore Sun

Photo credit: Kim Hairston of the Baltimore Sun

What's so special about Preakness?

Enough horsing around. What is this event all about?  

Preakness became popular because it had one of the largest purses for race winners.  As a result, horses and their owners would race in the Kentucky Derby first, take their winners and try their luck at Preakness, then attempt the Belmont Stakes for the chance to hit the biggest jackpots.  The Preakness was called "The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans", since the winning horse receives a wreath of yellow flowers (the Black-Eyed Susan is a daisy-like bloom that serves as Maryland's state flower). 

Is that the only reason people go to Preakness?

Nope!  For an overwhelming majority, it’s one of the biggest social events of the year. Ladies have a tradition of showing off the most majestic hats, and gentlemen have a history of dressing dapper. Those with the funds and inclination pay for a seat in the Grandstands, but the more common folk spent their time in the in-field.

The in-field became known as "The Party of the People".  In years past, the in-field garnered mixed attention. Drunken fights and near riots broke out, as the event was unregulated.  In 2007, someone had the bright idea of climbing atop the in-field's long line of port-a-potties and running across; this was named "The Running Of The Urinals" as a play on the Preakness's "Run for the Black-Eyed Susans".  

In the years since, the event has been much more strictly controlled. It evolved from its anything-goes past, into a reputable stage that has hosted performers like Maroon 5, Macklemore, and Nas.

Looking for something else to do?

Maybe horse racing and large crowds aren’t your cup of tea? In that case, come learn about the rest of Baltimore, take a food tour, and enjoy the city in a different light!  If you're looking for Baltimore's premier food tour, come check us out.

Until then, I’m just here to see a man about a horse…….

Always Dreaming, Kentucky Derby winner and favorite for this year's Preakness Stakes, taking a bath. (Photo credit: Lloyd Fox, Baltimore Sun)

Always Dreaming, Kentucky Derby winner and favorite for this year's Preakness Stakes, taking a bath. (Photo credit: Lloyd Fox, Baltimore Sun)