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The 2017 Preakness Stakes
The Preakness serves as the middle leg of the American Triple Crown and represents Maryland’s biggest day of Thoroughbred racing. The 1 3/16-mile contest for three-year-olds takes place at Pimlico on the third Saturday in May, two weeks after the Kentucky Derby, and 2016 will mark the 141st edition of the highly-valued stakes race.
It’s the shortest of the Triple Crown events, a sixteenth of a mile less than the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby, and is followed by the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes three weeks later.
Field size is limited to 14 and the Preakness always features a mix of horses from the Kentucky Derby as well as newcomers on the Triple Crown scene. It’s often the second-most wagered upon race in the United States after the Kentucky Derby, with approximately $50 million in handle.
The winning connections receive a replica of the Woodlawn Vase, which was created by Tiffany and Co. and first awarded in 1860. Valued in excess of $1 million, the silver Woodlawn Vase is recognized as the most valuable trophy in American sports.
Known as Old Hilltop, Pimlico is the second oldest track in the United States behind Saratoga Race Course. The Baltimore venue attracted a record crowd of 131,680 in 2015 to watch American Pharoah take the second jewel of the Triple Crown en route to be crowned the 12th sophomore to sweep the famed series in the Belmont Stakes. Preakness Day usually ranks second nationally in Thoroughbred racing attendance behind the Kentucky Derby.
Preakness Day holds appeal for both bettors and casual fans alike. The main event is surrounded by a quality racing program filled wagering opportunities and the InfieldFest delivers entertainment value. InfieldFest, which will enter its eighth year in 2016, features major musical acts on two stages, with the multiple Grammy Award-winning Lorde headlining the festivities in 2014; “all-you-can drink” specials; and other activities.
The Preakness is dubbed “The People’s Race…The People’s Party.”
American Pharoah ended the 37-year drought since Affirmed recorded the last Triple Crown sweep in 1978, but Kentucky Derby winners are more than capable of carrying their form forward two weeks later – it’s the Belmont Stakes that too often proves to be the foil, California Chrome became the 13th horse since Affirmed to capture the first two legs in 2014, but failed to prevail in the Belmont.