Got an idea for a holiday? Send it to us

Submit Now

SatMay 18

Preakness Stakes – May 18, 2024

We are all about horses in the Preakness Stakes, celebrated annually on the third Saturday in May, which falls on May 18 this year. This is a thoroughbred horse racing event held every year at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. This event is over a century old, attracting the most interesting and memorable personalities. Thoroughbred horses are the top tier of all racing horses, and the prestigious Pimlico Race Course is its best fit in the United States. Preakness Stakes comes in right after the Kentucky Derby and before the Belmont Stakes, making it the second jewel in the Triple Crown.

History of Preakness Stakes

The start of the summer is the beginning of the fanciest outdoor events, and one such event is the Preakness Stakes. This event boasts the crème de la crème of horse racing, touching the hearts of equestrians across America and the world at large. It is held at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, a racetrack strictly for thoroughbreds.

For those who don’t know, thoroughbred horses are the best horses for racing that you could ever find. Why you may ask? Well, thoroughbred horses are crossbreds of native mares and oriental stallions. They entered the scene between the 17th and 18th centuries with the three oriental stallions — the Byerley Turk, the Darley Arabian, and the Godolphin Arabian — being imported to England.

Gaining popularity in the centuries to come, nearly 100,000 foals are now registered each year. These superior racing horses are often used for flat racing but can also be used for show jumping, dressage, polo, and fox hunting.

Flat racing is the most common form of horse racing carried out on oval-shaped, leveled tracks with turf variations. Pimlico Race Course had its grand opening in 1870 with the Dinner Party Stakes and 12,000 people in attendance. The Preakness colt was the winning horse of this race, and three years later, the Preakness Stakes came to be, named after the first winning horse at Pimlico.

It was the first major thoroughbred racing event that paved the way for two other major horse racing events — the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes. Today, we now know these three events as the Triple Crown. Preakness Stakes is a Grade 1 filly race, ran for 9.5 furlongs on dirt, held annually on the third Saturday in May.

Preakness Stakes timeline

1000 B.C.
Flat Racing

Flat Racing is introduced, beginning in Smithfield, London.

1600s — 1700s
The Original Stallions

The first three oriental stallions — the Byerley Turk, the Darley Arabian, and the Godolphin Arabian — are imported to breed thoroughbreds.

Preakness Wins the Race

The colt Preakness wins the first-ever event at the Pimlico Race Course, during the Dinner Party Stakes.

An Honorable Event

The Preakness Stakes horse racing event is established and named after Preakness.

Preakness Stakes FAQs

What horse has the fastest record at Preakness Stakes?

A legendary racehorse called Secretariat holds the record for the fastest time for the Preakness Stakes at 1:53 in 1973, although he wasn’t declared the fastest until 2012 when the Maryland Racing Commission gave an additional review. He is also the ninth winner of the American Triple Crown.

Does a horse have to perform in all three events of the Triple Crown?

The Triple Crown is a series event. This means that horse racers signing up for the event typically plan on seeing it all the way through. Winners of the Kentucky Derby usually end up being winners of the Preakness Stakes and so on.

Who is currently the top jockey of Preakness Stakes?

Eddie Arcaro is currently ranked the top jockey for the Preakness Stakes event, holding the all-time Preakness record for winners. He has 15 appearances in the Classic, the most of any other jockey, and his sixth and final Preakness win was atop Bold Ruler in 1957. He is also the only rider to have won the American Triple Crown twice.

Preakness Stakes Activities

  1. Attend the event

    You’ll enjoy the event more by attending in person. This is why you should take some time out with family and friends this fine Saturday to attend. If you find yourself in the Baltimore area at this time, you cannot afford to miss this prestigious event!

  2. Watch the event

    If you cannot make the event in person, don’t feel left out. There are several sporting channels on T.V. and streaming services where you can watch the event. It’s no fun watching alone, so make sure you invite some friends over and organize some friendly betting games.

  3. Go horse riding

    Ultimately, this event appreciates horse riding at its best. So another great way you can mark the day is by visiting nearby stables and going for a horse ride. If you are clueless about riding, this also presents the perfect opportunity to learn a new hobby.

5 Interesting Facts About Preakness Stakes

  1. Its gift is a blanket

    The winning horse at the Preakness Stakes is draped in the Black-Eyed Susan Blanket, which is a blanket covered in Viking poms.

  2. It wasn’t always observed after the Derby

    Before 1969, the Preakness Stakes was run on the same day as the Kentucky Derby on two occasions and ran before it 11 times.

  3. The purse wasn’t always as large

    The purse for the event is now a whopping $1.5 million, although it started at $2,050.

  4. It’s never held on a Sunday

    Since 1931, the event has been held on Saturday afternoon, but before then it was scheduled on any other day of the week except on a Sunday.

  5. One color takes the lead

    Most of the winning horses of the Preakness Stakes have been bay in color.

Why We Love Preakness Stakes

  1. It’s an interesting event

    Horse riding in itself is an interesting sport, and an even more interesting hobby to have. Horse riding events attract the attention of thousands of people each year and are generally an intriguing way to spend your leisure time.

  2. It encourages a sport

    The Preakness Stakes not only encourages individuals to participate in horse riding events but also gives attention to the sport of horse riding itself. This is a great skill to have, and this event piques interest in the sport.

  3. It’s named after a winning horse

    One of the most interesting facts about this event you may come across is the origin of its name. We particularly love that story because it acknowledges the first-ever winning horse at the Pimlico Race Course, and gives it due recognition.

Preakness Stakes dates

2022May 21Saturday
2023May 20Saturday
2024May 18Saturday
2025May 17Saturday
2026May 16Saturday

Holidays Straight to Your Inbox

Every day is a holiday!
Receive fresh holidays directly to your inbox.