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Preakness Stakes History from A to Z

Before entries are drawn and the field takes shape, let’s take a look at some Preakness Stakes history, A to Z style.

A – Arcaro – Hall of Fame jockey Eddie Arcaro won the Preakness a record six times in 15 tries.

B – Bee Bee Bee – The Maryland-bred Bee Bee Bee pulled one of the greatest upsets in Preakness history when the track came up sloppy in 1972 and overwhelming favorite Riva Ridge finished fourth.
C – CookseyPatti Cooksey was the first woman to ride in the Preakness. Her mount Tajawa finished eighth in 1985. Last year, Rosie Napravnik rode Mylute to a third place finish.

D – Disqualification – Dancer’s Image is famous for having been disqualified for a positive drug test after winning the 1968 Kentucky Derby. Less known is that Dancer’s Image was also disqualified in the Preakness from third place to eighth. This time it was a bumping incident at the eighth pole.

E – Eclipse – In 13 of the last 17 years, the Preakness winner has gone on to win the Eclipse Award for three-year-old males. The four who did not were: Oxbow in 2013, Shackleford in 2011, the filly Rachel Alexandra in 2009, and in 2000, Red Bullet.

F – Favorites – Seventy favorites have won the Preakness. Citation and Spectacular Bid won at the shortest odds of 1-10, while Big Brown and Native Dancer scored at 1-5. Interestingly, Secretariat was 3-10.
G – Geldings – Only seven geldings have won the race, led by Funny Cide in 2003 and Prairie Bayou in 1993.

H – Horse of the Year – Nineteen Preakness horses have gone on to be named Horse of the Year in the same year as their victory, with the most recent being the filly Rachel Alexandra in 2009.

I – Infieldfest – The party in the Pimlico infield attracts throngs of young people with its annual concert and easy flowing beer. Embarrassing aspects of the Infieldfest were the running of the Port-o-Potties and the mascot, Kegasus.

J – Johnson – Judy Johnson was the first woman to train a Preakness runner with the 1968 seventh place finisher Sir Beau. A woman has yet to train a Preakness winner. In 2002, Nancy Alberts trained Magic Weisner to a second place finish.

K – Kauai King – Kauai King was part of three generations of Preakness winners. Polynesian, who won in 1945, sired Native Dancer 1953 and Native Dancer sired Kauai King 1966.

L – Long Shot – The highest win payoff of $48.80 went to Master Derby in 1975 when he defeated heavy favorite, Foolish Pleasure.

M – Maryland – Eight Maryland-breds have won the Preakness with four them before 1900. Later came Challedon 1939, Kauai King 1966, Bee Bee Bee 1972 and Deputed Testamony 1983.

N – New Stakes Record – It took nearly 40 years for Secretariat’s record time of 1:53 to become official. At a hearing on June 9, 2012, the Maryland Racing Commission voted to officially change the record to show that Secretariat did in fact run the fastest Preakness in the 1973.
O – Old Hilltop – Pimlico is nicknamed Old Hilltop after a small hill in the infield where horsemen and racing fans used to congregate.

P – Preakness to Preakness – Nine Preakness winners have sired a Preakness winner:  Bold Ruler (Secretariat), Bold Venture (Assault), Gallant Fox (Omaha), Man o’ War (War Admiral), Polynesian (Native Dancer), Citation (Fabius), Native Dancer (Kauai King), Secretariat (Risen Star), and Summer Squall (Charismatic).

Q – Quadrangle – It was only appropriate that Quadrangle finished fourth in 1964.

R – Rachel Alexandra – The supplemental fee to run Rachel Alexandra in the 2009 Preakness was $100,000.

S – Smarty Jones – In 2004 Smarty Jones established the largest winning margin of 11½ lengths.
T – Triple – Jockey Pat Day won the Preakness three times a row with Tabasco Cat in 1994, Timber Country 1995, and Louis Quatorze in 1996.

U – Upsets – By odds the two biggest upsets in Preakness history were Riva Ridge in 1972 and Fusaichi Pegasus in 2002, both losing at 3-10.

V – Viking Daisies - The Black-Eyed Susan is the state flower of Maryland, but since it does not bloom in the area until June the winner’s blanket is made out of Viking Daisies.

W – Woodlawn Vase – The Woodlawn Vase is the most valuable trophy in all of American sports. The actual Vase spends the year in the Baltimore Museum of Art and comes to Pimlico each year under armed guard. The winner of the race gets a smaller replica valued at $30,000.

X – Xchanger – Xchanger finished eighth in the 2007 Preakness.

Y – Y = Full House: 4’s Full of Ten’s – Five horses whose names began with Y have run in the Preakness with three fourth place finishes and 2 tenth place finishes.

Z – Zev – Zev was a 4.35-1 favorite when he finished in 12th place, beaten by 27 lengths in 1923. 


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Older Comments about Preakness Stakes History from A to Z...

Thanks for the replay of the 1979 Preakness, What a horse!!!
want a fanicful correlation!
It is interesting that 13 of the last 17 winners of the Preakness were Eclipse winners and if you include Rachel who was Horse of the Year, 14 of the last 17 Preakness winners were the best 3 year old. In my opinion this shows two things, first that the 20 horse field is making the Derby less important a race to determine who is the champion, it has become more of a spectacle and less of a great horse race and second that modern horses can run two tough races in a row and do not need 6-8 weeks between races.
Yes, Jay, it was 1:53 2/5 by Tank’s Prospect in 1985.
Fillies? again it is an easy thing to discover and it was NOT just for fillies:Governor Oden Bowie of Maryland, a horsemen and racing entrepreneur, was among the distinguished roster of guests at an elegant dinner party after the races at the Union Hall Hotel in Saratoga given by Milton H. Sanford, who had gained much of his wealth selling blankets during the Civil War. John Hunter of New York proposed that the feast be commemorated by a stake race to be run in the fall of 1870 for three-year old colts and fillies at two miles, to be known as the Dinner Party Stakes in honor of the evening. Bowie electrified the gathering by suggesting a purse of $15,000, a staggering sum in those days.
Wikipedia as a source OVER the American Racing Manual? Surelly you jest
Inaccurately then, he was infact 5 the year of his victory. Realize the Preakness took shape as a race for fillies and was even run in the Bronx
He was listed as a 3 year old in Wikipedia.
according to the American Racing Manual he was 5
1890 something
Montague ran in 1890. But was he 5?
t_v, what year for Montague?
Hasn't always been that way.
LOL. This race is only for 3 year old.
name starts with "M"
Good one t_v. I have no idea.
Only one 5 year old won this race. Who was it and when?
Allow me to add a little to the "T." Pat Day won his first Preakness (I'm pretty sure) aboard "T"ank's Prospect, and held the Track Record until Red's was official...if memory serves.
What a great collection of Trivia! A-Z for the Preakness! Loving the information!

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Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011 and currently serves as Assistant Editor. Matt covers Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga in his two HRN blogs Racing at the Jersey Shore and New York State of Racing.


Matt’s articles and tweets frequently appear in the America’s Best Racing weekly Notebook. In 2012 he became a voter in the NTRA weekly polls for the Top Thoroughbred and Top Three-Year-Old.


The best way to get to know Matt is to check out some of his favorite articles from the past couple years.

• Preakness Interview with Trainer Todd Pletcher

• Kentucky Derby 2016 Handicapping Tips from A to Z


• Edison: the Travels of a Million Dollar Colt 

• A Kentucky Derby Field with Just 14 Horses

• What is the Best Kentucky Derby Running Style?



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