The Preakness Stakes Take Center Stage

17 May
May 17, 2012

On Saturday afternoon, May 19th, the eyes of the sporting world will be on Baltimore, Maryland, where, at Pimlico Race Course, the Preakness Stakes will be run.

The Preakness Stakes is the second leg of the Triple Crown, horse racing’s most prominent series of tracks. The three-leg event begins with the Kentucky Derby, which was held two weeks ago in Louisville, Kentucky. That is followed by the Preakness, and the stretch closes with the Belmont Stakes in Long Island.

A horse hasn’t won all three races of the Triple Crown in almost 40 years. This year, after taking the Kentucky Derby, the horse I’ll Have Another is looking to win the second leg. And you can be there to see it. Unlike the grandiose Kentucky Derby, the Preakness is a more relaxed party, one that you can attend with minimal planning.

Pimlico Race Course is in Northwest Baltimore, on the outskirts of town, just about an hour from Washington, D.C. It’s one of the oldest horse racing venues in America, having hosted its first races in the 1880s. The track is steeped in horse racing lore, with greats such as Seabiscuit and War Admiral dueling on its famed dirt track.

If you’ve never been to a horse race before, Preakness Day is the perfect time to give it a try. There are eight races, allowing for a full day at the track. There you can learn the intricacies of racing, as well as try your hand at placing some bets. Other races being run on Saturday include the Maryland Sprint Handicap and the Dixie Stakes.

The crown jewel is, of course, the Preakness Stakes, which will be run at 4:30 p.m. Twelve horses are entered, all vying for the win.

There are two ways to attend the Preakness Stakes. If you prefer to watch the races, then Grandstand or Concourse tickets can be purchased for around $100. There, with bleachers to sit and room to walk around, you can survey the track.

The younger generation, though, is going to be interested in infield tickets. There, a day long raucous party takes place, with performances from Maroon 5, Wiz Khalifa and Maryland’s favorite cover band, Mr. Greengenes. Infieldfest, as it’s known, is considered one of the biggest events of the year in Maryland. And if you’re so interested, you can still join in the wild fun. Just $60 will give you access to the infield, along with an official Preakness mug that can be filled to your heart’s content. That’s right, there are unlimited refills on beer from 8:30 a.m. all the way to 6:30 p.m. No wonder it’s such a party.

Of course, if crowds or hiking up to Baltimore isn’t appealing to you, there’s still options to watch the race in this area.

The most popular place to catch the race on Saturday will be one of D.C.’s newer bars, Jack Rose Dining Saloon. They’ll be showing the race on every TV on their upstairs patio, and one of Maryland’s most famous beers, Flying Dog, is the special for the day. Drafts of almost every kind of Flying Dog will run $5 from 2:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. And if you know anything about the Preakness, and Maryland as well, you’ll know the official drink is the Black-Eyed Susan, a combination of vodka, whiskey, sour mix and orange juice. At Jack Rose, they’ll be making a special sno-cone version, which will certainly go down smooth.

Which is why this Saturday, whether you attend the Preakness or not, break out your inner Maryland and watch one of the most exciting events in all of horse racing.

- David

 

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