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A Complete Guide to The Preakness Stakes

As the second race of the famous and sought after Triple Crown Series, The Preakness Stakes is one of the most famous races in US Horse Racing. Second to only The Kentucky Derby in attendance, The Preakness Stakes packs a massive crowd year after year to enjoy the race event. Nicknamed “The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans” based on the race’s official flower, The Preakness Stakes is surely one not to miss if you’re a horse racing fan.

Since 1932, The Preakness Stakes has been run after The Kentucky Derby. Currently, The Preakness Stakes takes place just two weeks after The Kentucky Derby. For the winner of The Kentucky Derby, The Preakness Stakes is the next big test. In order to keep hope for The Triple Crown alive, they must win again at Pimlico Race Course for The Preakness Stakes. If the same horse is lucky enough to finish first in The Kentucky Derby and The Preakness Stakes, they must then take the win and The Belmont Stakes in order to claim their place in history.

The Preakness Stakes is the second oldest of The Triple Crown races having been started in 1873. The Belmont Stakes started six years prior in 1867 in New York. The Preakness Stakes predates The Kentucky Derby by two years.

Quick Facts

Year First Run1873
Name of TrackPimlico Race Course
Location of TrackBaltimore, Maryland (United States)
Current Purse$1,500,000
Qualification3-year-old horses
Length of Track1.1875 miles
Surface of TrackDirt
Track DirectionLeft handed
Race Record01:53.0 (Secretariat in 1973)

How to Watch

If you’re looking to watch The Preakness Stakes, NBC will be the place to catch the race for the next five years. NBC has a contract with the ownership group of Pimlico Race Course that will run through the 2022 race. Since 2001, NBC has aired The Preakness Stakes on their broadcast channel. At the time of this article, NBC currently has the rights to all three races of The Triple Crown locked up for years to come. Prior to the NBC deal in 2001, The Preakness Stakes aired on other channels including ABC and CBS.

Race Traditions

As with the other two races of The Triple Crown, The Preakness Stakes has a lineup of race traditions that have developed over the long history of the race.  Over the past 144 years since the race’s inauguration, traditions surrounding music, flowers, cocktails, and paint.  We’ll take a deeper dive into each of these traditions below so that you can learn more about each one.

The official flower of The Preakness Stakes is the Black-Eyed Susan. The Black-Eyed Susan was named the official flower of The Preakness Stakes in 1940, and it also serves as the official state flower of Maryland. Each year, the winning horse of The Preakness Stakes is draped in a large blanket of Black-Eyed Susans. This tradition dates back to 1940. One interesting fact is that the blanket itself it actually comprised of Viking Poms painted to look like Black-Eyed Viking Poms are used and painted to look more like Black-Eyed Susans due to the fact that Black-Eyed Susans do not bloom in Maryland until at least a month after The Preakness Stakes is run.

Before the start of The Preakness Stakes, the official song is played while the participants and audience sing along. The official song of The Preakness Stakes is “Maryland, My Maryland” which also serves as the official Maryland state song. This tradition dates back to 1909 when a bugler that was moved by the spirit of the day began to play the song by himself. He was then joined by the band and the crowd and a new tradition was born.

If alcohol is your thing, The Preakness Stakes also has an official drink. The official drink of The Preakness Stakes is the aptly named Black-Eyed Susan. This tasty cocktail is a mix of bourbon, vodka, fruit juices, and sour mix. Attendees at Pimlico Race Course for The Preakness will often enjoy this refreshing cocktail while participating in the race day activities.

A unique tradition of The Preakness Stakes is the painting of the weather vane. Shortly after the official winner of the race is announced, a painter climbs to the top of the clubhouse at Pimlico to paint the weather vane. The weather vane is painted in the colors of the silks from the winning horse and jockey. The updated colors from the winning horse and jockey will stand proudly on display until a new winner is declared one year later at the next running of The Preakness Stakes. The tradition of painting the weather vane dates all the way back to 1909 and has continued every year since.

Race History

The home of The Preakness Stakes, Pimlico Race Course, is the 2nd oldest racetrack in The United States having opened for business all the way back in 1870. Only Saratoga racetrack in New York predates Pimlico. Just three years after Pimlico Race Course was opened, a new spring stakes race was introduced for three-year-olds. Odie Bowen, the former Maryland Governor, named the new race in honor of a colt named Preakness from nearby Preakness Stables in New Jersey and The Preakness Stakes was born. Seven starters joined the first ever Preakness Stakes held on May 27th, 1873.

Both Pimlico Race Course and The Preakness Stakes have managed to adapt and survive to changes over the last 144 years. Major events such as the World Wars, The Great Depression, and others came and went yet The Preakness Stakes and Pimlico Race Course still stand today. Much has changed over the last 144 years, but the race course and the race itself have adjusted to changing times and still are very relevant and important today.

The race is a pivotal one in US horse racing due to its role as the second race of the Triple Crown Series. Storied horses such as Seattle Slew, Secretariat, and American Pharoah have all won at The Preakness Stakes in order to work their way towards their eventual Triple Crown victory. With a win at The Kentucky Derby and The Preakness Stakes under their belts, these three horses, along with the other 9 Triple Crown winners, all went on to win at The Belmont Stakes to claim their place in history.

Past Winners

Over the last 144 years, The Preakness Stakes has seen thousands of horses compete in an attempt to win it all. As the second race in the famed Triple Crown Series, the Preakness Stakes is the next step in the quest for the Triple Crown. Should a horse win at The Kentucky Derby, they must then prove themselves once again on the track at The Preakness Stakes and The Belmont Stakes in order to earn the coveted title.

In the chart below, you’ll find a bunch of data surrounding the winning horse for each running of The Preakness Stakes. We’ll work to update this chart each year so that it always has the most up to date information contained within it. The chart contains pertinent information such as the jockey, trainer, finish time, and track length. The last column of the chart is our Equalizer formula which we’ll go into more detail below.

You’ll notice below that the track length of The Preakness Stakes has not always been the same distance. In fact, there have been six different track lengths over the 144-year history of the race. If you try to compare finishing times over different track lengths, the results can become confusing and misleading. In order to help even the playing field, we’ve created an equation that helps you compare the winners against one another regardless of the track length that they competed on.

What we came up with is what we call our Equalizer formula. This formula runs the math and gives you a time per mile result. Our Equalizer formula takes into account the track length and the finish time of the winner. For example, the formula for Cloud Computing, the 2017 winner of The Preakness Stakes, would be Finish Time (01:56:0) / Track Length (1.1875 miles) = Equalizer (01:37.7).

Using the Equalizer formula, you can easily stack up the winning horses over time regardless of the track length that they competed on. The slowest winner ever at The Preakness Stakes according to the Equalizer formula was Culpepper all the way back in 1874. The record for the fastest horse ever regardless of track length is the Famous Secretariat who went on to win The Triple Crown that year.

2017Cloud ComputingJavier CastellanoChad BrownKlaravich Stables & W. H. Lawrence1.1875 miles01:56.001:37.7
2016ExaggeratorKent DesormeauxJ. Keith DesormeauxBig Chief Racing LLC et al.1.1875 miles01:58.301:39.6
2015American Pharoah*Victor EspinozaBob BaffertZayat Stables, LLC1.1875 miles01:58.501:39.8
2014California ChromeVictor EspinozaArt ShermanSteve Coburn & Perry Martin1.1875 miles01:54.801:36.7
2013OxbowGary StevensD. Wayne LukasCalumet Farm1.1875 miles01:57.501:39.0
2012I’ll Have AnotherMario GutierrezDoug O’NeillJ. Paul Reddam1.1875 miles01:55.901:37.6
2011ShacklefordJesus CastanonDale RomansMike Lauffer & W.D. Cubbedge1.1875 miles01:56.501:38.1
2010Lookin At LuckyMartin GarciaBob BaffertMichael Pegram1.1875 miles01:55.501:37.2
2009Rachel AlexandraCalvin BorelSteve AsmussenStonestreet Stables/H. T. McCormick1.1875 miles01:55.101:36.9
2008Big BrownKent DesormeauxRichard DutrowIEAH Stables & Paul Pompa, Jr.1.1875 miles01:54.901:36.7
2007CurlinRobby AlbaradoSteve AsmussenStonestreet Stables1.1875 miles01:53.501:35.5
2006BernardiniJavier CastellanoTom AlbertraniDarley Stables1.1875 miles01:54.601:36.5
2005Afleet AlexJeremy RoseTimothy RitcheyCash Is King Stable1.1875 miles01:55.001:36.9
2004Smarty JonesStewart ElliottJohn ServisSomeday Farm1.1875 miles01:55.601:37.3
2003Funny CideJose SantosBarclay TaggSackatoga Stable1.1875 miles01:55.601:37.4
2002War EmblemVictor EspinozaBob BaffertThe Thoroughbred Corp.1.1875 miles01:56.401:38.0
2001Point GivenGary StevensBob BaffertThe Thoroughbred Corp.1.1875 miles01:55.401:37.2
2000Red BulletJerry BaileyJoe OrsenoStronach Stables1.1875 miles01:56.001:37.7
1999CharismaticChris AntleyD. Wayne LukasBob & Beverly Lewis1.1875 miles01:55.201:37.0
1998Real QuietKent DesormeauxBob BaffertMichael Pegram1.1875 miles01:54.601:36.5
1997Silver CharmGary StevensBob BaffertBob & Beverly Lewis1.1875 miles01:54.801:36.7
1996Louis QuatorzePat DayNick ZitoCondren/Cornacchia/Hofmann1.1875 miles01:53.401:35.5
1995Timber CountryPat DayD. Wayne LukasOverbrook/Gainesway/R. B. Lewis1.1875 miles01:54.401:36.3
1994Tabasco CatPat DayD. Wayne LukasD. P. Reynolds & Overbrook1.1875 miles01:56.401:38.0
1993Prairie BayouMike SmithTom BohannanLoblolly Stable1.1875 miles01:56.601:38.2
1992Pine BluffChris McCarronTom BohannanLoblolly Stable1.1875 miles01:55.601:37.3
1991HanselJerry BaileyFrank L. BrothersLazy Lane Farms1.1875 miles01:54.001:36.0
1990Summer SquallPat DayNeil J. HowardDogwood Stable1.1875 miles01:53.601:35.7
1989Sunday SilencePat ValenzuelaChar.WhittinghamH-G-W Partners1.1875 miles01:53.801:35.8
1988Risen StarEd DelahoussayeLouie RousselLouie J. Roussel III & R. Lamarque1.1875 miles01:56.201:37.9
1987AlyshebaChris McCarronJack Van BergDorothy Scharbauer1.1875 miles01:55.801:37.5
1986Snow ChiefAlex SolisMelvin F. StuteCarl Grinstead1.1875 miles01:54.801:36.7
1985Tank’s ProspectPat DayD. Wayne LukasEugene V. Klein1.1875 miles01:53.401:35.5
1984Gate DancerAngel CorderoJack Van BergKenneth Opstein1.1875 miles01:53.601:35.7
1983Deputed TestamonyDonald Miller, Jr.J. William BonifaceBonita Farm1.1875 miles01:55.401:37.2
1982Aloma’s RulerJack KaenelJohn J. Lenzini, Jr.Nathan Scherr1.1875 miles01:55.401:37.2
1981Pleasant ColonyJorge VelasquezJohn P. CampoBuckland Farm1.1875 miles01:54.601:36.5
1980CodexAngel CorderoD. Wayne LukasTartan Stable1.1875 miles01:54.201:36.2
1979Spectacular BidRonnie FranklinBud DelpHawksworth Farm1.1875 miles01:54.201:36.2
1978Affirmed*Steve CauthenLaz BarreraHarbor View Farm1.1875 miles01:54.401:36.3
1977Seattle Slew*Jean CruguetBill TurnerKaren L. Taylor1.1875 miles01:54.401:36.3
1976ElocutionistJohn LivelyPaul T. AdwellEugene C. Cashman1.1875 miles01:55.001:36.8
1975Master DerbyDarrel McHargueSmiley AdamsGolden Chance Farm1.1875 miles01:56.401:38.0
1974Little CurrentMiguel A. RiveraLou RondinelloDarby Dan Farm1.1875 miles01:54.601:36.5
1973Secretariat*Ron TurcotteLucien LaurinMeadow Stable1.1875 miles01:53.001:35.2
1972Bee Bee BeeEldon NelsonDel W. CarrollWilliam S. Farish III1.1875 miles01:55.601:37.3
1971Canonero IIGustavo AvilaJuan AriasEdgar Caibett1.1875 miles01:54.001:36.0
1970PersonalityEddie BelmonteJohn W. JacobsEthel D. Jacobs1.1875 miles01:56.201:37.9
1969Majestic PrinceBill HartackJohnny LongdenFrank M. McMahon1.1875 miles01:55.601:37.3
1968Forward PassIsmael ValenzuelaHenry ForrestCalumet Farm1.1875 miles01:56.801:38.4
1967DamascusBill ShoemakerFrank WhiteleyEdith W. Bancroft1.1875 miles01:55.201:37.0
1966Kauai KingDon BrumfieldHenry ForrestFord Stable1.1875 miles01:55.401:37.2
1965Tom RolfeRon TurcotteFrank WhiteleyPowhatan Stable1.1875 miles01:56.201:37.9
1964Northern DancerBill HartackHoratio LuroWindfields Farm1.1875 miles01:56.801:38.4
1963Candy SpotsBill ShoemakerMesh TenneyRex C. Ellsworth1.1875 miles01:56.201:37.9
1962Greek MoneyJohn L. RotzVirgil W. RainesBrandywine Stable1.1875 miles01:56.201:37.9
1961Carry BackJohnny SellersJack A. PriceKatherine Price1.1875 miles01:57.601:39.0
1960Bally AcheBobby UsseryJimmy PittTurfland1.1875 miles01:57.601:39.0
1959Royal OrbitWilliam HarmatzReggie CornellHalina Gregory Braunstein1.1875 miles01:57.001:38.5
1958Tim TamIsmael ValenzuelaHorace A. JonesCalumet Farm1.1875 miles01:57.201:38.7
1957Bold RulerEddie ArcaroJim FitzsimmonsWheatley Stable1.1875 miles01:56.201:37.9
1956FabiusBill HartackHorace A. JonesCalumet Farm1.1875 miles01:58.401:39.7
1955NashuaEddie ArcaroJim FitzsimmonsBelair Stud1.1875 miles01:54.601:36.5
1954Hasty RoadJohn H. AdamsHarry TrotsekHasty House Farm1.1875 miles01:57.401:38.9
1953Native DancerEric GuerinBill WinfreyAlfred G. Vanderbilt II1.1875 miles01:57.801:39.2
1952Blue ManConn McCrearyWoody StephensWhite Oak Stable1.1875 miles01:57.401:38.9
1951BoldEddie ArcaroPreston M. BurchBrookmeade Stable1.1875 miles01:56.401:38.0
1950Hill PrinceEddie ArcaroCasey HayesChristopher Chenery1.1875 miles01:59.201:40.4
1949CapotTed AtkinsonJohn M. Gaver, Sr.Greentree Stable1.1875 miles01:56.001:37.7
1948Citation*Eddie ArcaroHorace A. JonesCalumet Farm1.1875 miles02:02.401:43.1
1947FaultlessDouglas DodsonHorace A. JonesCalumet Farm1.1875 miles01:59.001:40.2
1946Assault*Warren MehrtensMax HirschKing Ranch1.1875 miles02:01.401:42.2
1945PolynesianWayne D. WrightMorris H. DixonGertrude T. Widener1.1875 miles01:58.801:40.0
1944PensiveConn McCrearyBen A. JonesCalumet Farm1.1875 miles01:59.201:40.4
1943Count Fleet*Johnny LongdenDon CameronFannie Hertz1.1875 miles01:57.401:38.9
1942AlsabBasil JamesSarge SwenkeMrs. Albert Sabath1.1875 miles01:57.001:38.5
1941Whirlaway*Eddie ArcaroBen A. JonesCalumet Farm1.1875 miles01:58.801:40.0
1940BimelechFred A. SmithWilliam A. HurleyEdward R. Bradley1.1875 miles01:58.601:39.9
1939ChalledonGeorge SeaboLouis J. SchaeferWilliam L. Brann1.1875 miles01:59.801:40.9
1938DauberMaurice PetersRichard E. HandlenFoxcatcher Farms1.1875 miles01:59.801:40.9
1937War Admiral*Charley KurtsingerGeorge ConwayGlen Riddle Farm1.1875 miles01:58.401:39.7
1936Bold VentureGeorge WoolfMax HirschMorton L. Schwartz1.1875 miles01:59.001:40.2
1935Omaha*Willie SaundersJim FitzsimmonsBelair Stud1.1875 miles01:58.401:39.7
1934High QuestRobert JonesRobert A. SmithBrookmeade Stable1.1875 miles01:58.201:39.5
1933Head PlayCharley KurtsingerThomas P. HayesSilas B. Mason1.1875 miles02:02.001:42.7
1932Burgoo KingEugene JamesH. J. ThompsonEdward R. Bradley1.1875 miles01:59.801:40.9
1931MateGeorge EllisJames W. HealyAlbert C. Bostwick, Jr.1.1875 miles01:59.001:40.2
1930Gallant Fox*Earl SandeJim FitzsimmonsBelair Stud1.1875 miles02:00.601:41.6
1929Dr. FreelandLouis SchaeferThomas J. HealeyWalter J. Salmon, Sr.1.1875 miles02:01.601:42.4
1928VictorianRaymond WorkmanJames G. Rowe, Jr.Harry P. Whitney1.1875 miles02:00.201:41.2
1927BostonianWhitey AbelFred HopkinsHarry P. Whitney1.1875 miles02:01.601:42.4
1926DisplayJohn MaibenThomas J. HealeyWalter J. Salmon, Sr.1.1875 miles01:59.801:40.9
1925CoventryClarence KummerWilliam B. DukeGifford A. Cochran1.1875 miles01:59.001:40.2
1924Nellie MorseJohn MerimeeAlbert B. GordonBud Fisher1.125 miles01:57.201:44.2
1923VigilBenny MarinelliThomas J. HealeyWalter J. Salmon, Sr.1.125 miles01:53.601:41.0
1922PilloryLouis MorrisThomas J. HealeyRichard T. Wilson, Jr.1.125 miles01:51.601:39.2
1921BroomspunFrank ColtilettiJames G. Rowe, Sr.Harry P. Whitney1.125 miles01:54.201:41.5
1920Man o’ WarClarence KummerLouis FeustelGlen Riddle Farm1.125 miles01:51.601:39.2
1919Sir Barton*Johnny LoftusH. Guy BedwellJ. K. L. Ross1.125 miles01:53.001:40.4
1918War CloudJohnny LoftusWalter B. JenningsA. Kingsley Macomber1.125 miles01:53.601:41.0
1918Jack Hare, Jr.Charles PeakFrank D. WeirW. E. Applegate1.125 miles01:53.401:40.8
1917KalitanEverett HaynesBill HurleyEdward R. Bradley1.125 miles01:54.401:41.7
1916DamroschLinus McAteeAlbert G. WestonJ. K. L. Ross1.125 miles01:54.801:42.0
1915Rhine Maiden Douglas HoffmanFrank DeversEdward F. Whitney1.125 miles01:58.001:44.9
1914HolidayAndy SchuttingerJ. Simon HealyMrs. A. Barklie1.125 miles01:53.801:41.2
1913BuskinJames ButwellJohn WhalenJohn Whalen1.125 miles01:53.401:40.8
1912Colonel HollowayClarence TurnerDave WoodfordBeverwyck Stable1.125 miles01:56.601:43.6
1911WatervaleEddie DuganJohn WhalenAugust Belmont, Jr.1.125 miles01:51.001:38.7
1910LayminsterRoy EstepJ. Simon HealyEdward B. Cassatt1.0 mile01:40.601:40.6
1909EffendiWillie DoyleFrank C. FrisbieW. T. Ryan1.0 mile01:39.801:39.8
1908Royal TouristEddie DuganA. Jack JoynerHarry P. Whitney1.0625 miles01:46.401:40.1
1907Don EnriqueGeorge MountainJohn WhalenAugust Belmont, Jr.1.0625 miles01:45.401:39.2
1906Whimsical Walter MillerTim J. GaynorTim J. Gaynor1.0625 miles01:45.001:38.8
1905CairngormWillie DavisA. Jack JoynerSydney Paget1.0625 miles01:45.801:39.6
1904Bryn MawrGene HildebrandW. Fred PresgraveGoughacres Stable1.0625 miles01:44.201:38.1
1903Flocarline William GannonH. C. RiddleM. H. Tichenor1.0625 miles01:44.801:38.6
1902Old EnglandL. JacksonGreen B. MorrisGreen B. Morris1.0625 miles01:45.801:39.6
1901The ParaderF. LandryThomas J. HealeyRichard T. Wilson, Jr.1.0625 miles01:47.201:40.9
1900HindusHenry SpencerJohn H. MorrisGeorge J. Long1.0625 miles01:48.401:42.0
1899Half TimeRichard ClawsonFrank McCabePhilip J. Dwyer1.0625 miles01:47.001:40.7
1898Sly FoxWillie SimmsHardy Campbell, Jr.Charles F. Dwyer1.0625 miles01:49.801:43.3
1897Paul KauvarT. ThorpeThomas P. HayesThomas P. Hayes1.0625 miles01:51.301:44.7
1896MargraveHenry GriffinByron McClellandAugust Belmont, Jr.1.0625 miles01:51.001:44.5
1895BelmarFred TaralEdward FeakesPreakness Stables1.0625 miles01:50.501:44.0
1894AssigneeFred TaralWilliam LakelandJames & Foxhall Keene1.0625 miles01:49.301:42.8
1890MontagueWillie MartinEdward FeakesPreakness Stables1.50 miles02:36.701:44.5
1889BuddhistGeorge AndersonJohn W. RogersSamuel S. Brown1.25 miles02:17.501:50.0
1888RefundFred LittlefieldR. W. WaldenR. W. Walden1.50 miles02:49.001:52.7
1887DunboyneWilliam DonohueWilliam JenningsWilliam Jennings1.50 miles02:39.501:46.3
1886The BardS. FisherJohn HugginsA. J. Cassatt1.50 miles02:45.001:50.0
1885TecumsehJim McLaughlinCharles LittlefieldW. Donohue1.50 miles02:49.001:52.7
1884Knight of EllerslieS. FisherThomas DoswellR. Hancock & T. Doswell1.50 miles02:39.501:46.3
1883JacobusGeorge BarbeeR. DwyerJames E. Kelley1.50 miles02:42.501:48.3
1882VanguardTom CostelloR. W. WaldenGeorge L. Lorillard1.50 miles02:44.501:49.7
1881SauntererTom CostelloR. W. WaldenGeorge L. Lorillard1.50 miles02:40.501:47.0
1880GrenadaLloyd HughesR. W. WaldenGeorge L. Lorillard1.50 miles02:40.501:47.0
1879HaroldLloyd HughesR. W. WaldenGeorge L. Lorillard1.50 miles02:40.501:47.0
1878Duke of MagentaC. HollowayR. W. WaldenGeorge L. Lorillard1.50 miles02:41.801:47.8
1877CloverbrookC. HollowayJeter WaldenE. A. Clabaugh1.50 miles02:45.501:50.3
1876ShirleyGeorge BarbeeW. BrownPierre Lorillard IV1.50 miles02:44.801:49.8
1875Tom OchiltreeLloyd HughesR. W. WaldenJohn F. Chamberlain1.50 miles02:43.501:49.0
1874CulpepperWilliam DonohueHugh GaffneyHugh Gaffney1.50 miles02:56.501:57.7
1873SurvivorGeorge BarbeeA. Davis PryorJohn F. Chamberlain1.50 miles02:43.001:48.7
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