It’s only fitting that the second leg of the Triple Crown be hosted at the nation’s second oldest thoroughbred racing track.
Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland opened on October 25, 1870, hosting each of the 137 editions of the Preakness Stakes. The 138th running will take place on May 18 on Pimlico’s storied dirt track, and there will be plenty of reasons to watch.
Orb traversed Churchill Downs’ 1 1/4-mile track on May 4 to take home the Garland of Roses at the Kentucky Derby. With the win, the colt has put himself in prime position to become the first Triple Crown winner in 35 years, but he’ll have to go through Pimlico first.
Here’s a look at everything you need to know about the course and the 138th edition of the Preakness Stakes.
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Race Length: 1 3/16 miles
Track Surface: Dirt
Notable Winners: Man O’ War, Seabiscuit, Secretariat
Preakness Weather Report: Partly Cloudy, 75 degrees, 20 percent chance of rain
According to Preakness.com, the Maryland Jockey Club purchased the 70-acre tract of land on which Pimlico now rests for $23,500. The club built the track for an additional $25,000, and the first race was held in the fall of 1870. Then called the Dinner Party Stakes, the winner of that first race (Preakness) became the namesake of the Preakness Stakes.
Also known as “Old Hilltop” for its now-removed infield mound, Pimlico has become a staple of American thoroughbred racing, which former Maryland Jockey Club president Alfred G. Vanderbilt once called, “an accepted American institution, devoted to the best interests of a great sport, graced by time, respected for its honorable past.”
*Historical information courtesy of Preakness.com.
Post Positions and Odds
|2||Goldencents||Doug O'Neill||Kevin Krigger||8-1|
|3||Titletown Five||D. Wayne Lukas||Julien Leparoux||30-1|
|4||Departing||Albert M. Stall, Jr.||Brian Hernandez, Jr.||6-1|
|5||Mylute||Tom Amoss||Rosie Napravnik||5-1|
|6||Oxbow||D. Wayne Lukas||Gary Stevens||15-1|
|7||Will Take Charge||D. Wayne Lukas||Mike Smith||14-1|
|8||Govenor Charlie||Bob Baffert||Martin Garcia||12-1|
|9||Itsmyluckyday||Eddie Plesa Jr.||John Velazquez||10-1|
*Odds courtesy of KY Derby Contenders Twitter account.
Previous Preakness Winners
|2012||I'll Have Another|
|2010||Lookin at Lucky|
Despite a poor showing at the Kentucky Derby (15th place), Itsmyluckyday is a big-money pick for the Preakness Stakes.
One of the fastest pure sprinters in the field, the Eddie Plesa Jr.-trained colt has the physical ability and endurance to run from anywhere in the field, including the No. 9 post which he was handed following Wednesday’s draw.
With the outside post, jockey John Velazquez can utilize a number of options to keep Itsmyluckyday in the race. Given the shorter length of Pimlico, it’s likely Velazquez will opt to keep his horse in stalking position in anticipation of a tremendous sprint down the stretch.
At 10-1, Itsmyluckyday offers lucrative odds to those willing to wager on the long shot. Expect pre-race action to facilitate a shift in his odds to reflect Itsmyluckyday’s good post position.