Get ready for the middle jewel in horse racing’s Triple Crown with these 7 fun facts about our Preakness…
- The Preakness is named after the horse who won the first stakes ever run in Pimlico when its doors first opened on May 27, 1873.
- The name “Pimlico” was given to the area by English settlers in Colonial times, although the “Pemblicoe” spelling appeared on the original settlement charter in 1669. The colonists were from an area near London and brought with them memories of a famous landmark, Olde Ben Pimlico’s Tavern.
- The racetrack soon became affectionately known as “Old Hilltop”, after a small rise in the infield that was a favorite gathering place for trainers and race enthusiasts to view and cheer on the racers close–up.
- The Preakness Stakes is sometimes dubbed “The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans” because a blanket of Viking daisies, decorated to look like Black-eyed Susans, is traditionally placed around the winner’s neck. Actual Black-eyed Susans — the state flower of Maryland — are not in season during the Preakness.
- The official drink of the Preakness Stakes is the Black Eyed Susan cocktail made with orange juice and vodka.
- The Friday before the Preakness is Black-Eyed Susan Day at Pimlico, where a party atmosphere prevails with the running of the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, with appearances by notable female jockeys.
- While pre-race celebrations in Baltimore last for days, the actual Preakness Stakes race lasts an average 2 1/2 minutes.
(Sources: Preakness.com and Chiff.com)