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2014 Preakness Stakes: Just The Facts


The second jewel of the Triple Crown series is soon upon us, and we are left with hopes and anticipation of what lies ahead. In the aftermath of the Kentucky Derby we have little room for taking deep breaths with only a week away to the second leg of this incredible journey. Only one horse in this field has the potential to become the next Triple Crown winner and he will need to overcome a group of very fast horses who will be running fast, and as far as they can. With a clear target on their backs, it’s time to recharge and refocus for California Chrome and jockey Victor Espinoza. Their journey together continues with the pursuit of the crown, and giving racing fans hope on this quest for perfection. As the Preakness soon approaches, it will be a quick two-week turnaround for horses that ran in the first Saturday in May.


So here are some interesting facts to get you up close and personal with the next adventure that lies ahead: 


1) The first Preakness was held on May 27, 1873


2) The Preakness is named after the horse that won the first stakes race ever run at Pimlico Race Course in 1870. The race was called the “Dinner Party Stakes” (now called the Dixie Stakes). Preakness ran until his 8-year-old season. Preakness was a high-strung animal and so was his new owner. He was shipped to England for stud duty, but tragically died after an incident in his stall


3) Since 1909, post-position 6 has produced the most Preakness winners with a total of 16 winners; with last year’s winner Oxbow being the most recent. In contrast, no 'rail drawn' entrant has finished in the exacta since Tabasco Cat won the race in 1994. Before that? It was in 1960 when Bally Ache won from post 1


4) Since 1911, only 2 horses have won the Preakness at odds of 20-1 or more. Last year, Oxbow won with odds of 15-1


5) In 1918, 26 horses entered the race and it was run in two divisions, resulting in two winners that year. Currently, the race is limited to only 14 horses


6) In 1948 the Preakness was televised for the first time on CBS


6) The speed record goes to Secretariat with 1:53. He was originally credited with a running time of 1:55, but there was a discrepancy with what his actual finishing time was clocked. It took 39 years to get this matter resolved. In 2012 the Maryland Racing Commission, based on testimony and analysis of the race unanimously voted to change Secretariat's final time to 1:53. This now stands as the record time for the Preakness Stakes


7) The Preakness has been run at 7 different distances; today the race is run at a mile and three-sixteenths, or 9½ furlongs, which is the shortest distance in all three races of the Triple Crown series. The Kentucky Derby is 1¼ mile, (10 furlongs). Followed by the third leg, which is the Belmont Stakes, at 1½ miles (12 furlongs)


8) The Preakness is run on the third Saturday in May, two weeks after the Kentucky Derby, and three weeks before the Belmont Stakes


9) I’ll Have Another in 2012 is the only Derby/Preakness winner in the last 5 years


10) The Preakness 'half-mile leader’ has finished first or second in four of the last five years, including 2013 winner Oxbow and runner up Bodemeister


11) The Derby winner has been made the Preakness favorite 9 of the last 13 years, with California Chrome expected to once again be this year’s favorite in the race


12) The Preakness winner gets a garland of black-eyed Susans draped on its’ neck, but the official state flower of Maryland doesn't come into bloom until late June or July. Instead they are substituted with yellow flowers that are daubed with black lacquer to resemble black-eyed Susans


13) Since the history of the Preakness there have been 5 fillies that have won this race with Rachel Alexandra being the most recent in 2009. Rachel has also been the only horse to win out of post- position 13. A filly in this year’s Preakness? A strong possibility, with Ria Antonia connections pointing her to this race. As of yet, she is still probable, but has not been confirmed. She is no stranger to facing males and she would become the 54th filly to try her luck in the Preakness. She is so far winless in three 2014 starts. Majority owner Ron Paolucci would like to run her in the Preakness, and then in the Ohio Derby (g. III), which is his home track. Originally trained by Jeremiah Englehart in 2013, she was switched to the barn of Bob Baffert, for whom she ran sixth in the Santa Anita Oaks. Most recently she was moved to the barn of Tom Amoss, since there is no races for her to run in California right now


14) In the last 4 years the Preakness favorites have not won. If California Chrome goes off as the favorite will he be able to break this ice-cold trend? 



With speed anticipated in this year’s Preakness Stakes a lot of talk has been exchanged on California Chrome’s final speed figure in the Kentucky Derby. So often the results of a race become a paper game, and viewers react on numbers they see. Why are so many people commenting on how the race was won, rather than how good this horse ran his race? Yes, Andy Beyer did give Chrome a low speed figure (less than what we all expected), but it was an honest pace, and when the time was right Victor Espinoza let his horse run… and run is what he did. The pace was set by Uncle Sigh and Chitu with Chrome 'stalking' nicely in the 3rd position. He eventually passed the leaders in the stretch and was the first to cross the finish line; with long shot Commanding Curve closing nicely for second. He was indeed the best that day, and we can't knock them down for a perfect ride. Eventually pace leaders Uncle Sigh finished 15th,Chitu finished 9th and Samraat finished 5th


A race on paper so often gets over analyzed as in the Derby and the pace did not unfold as anticipated.  A simple sentence that explains it all:  Chrome only needed to do what he had to do to win. We all know Chrome has speed and the ability to produce big numbers, but figuratively he just did NOT need to break a sweat to win. He glides on air with little energy, and possesses just great elegance when he runs.


The fact that he was victorious with a slow Beyer speed number on what was considered a fast track only means he has more in his tank for what appears to have a lot of speed signed on for the second leg to the Triple Crown series. Everyone will continue to have his or her own opinions, but why put down a talented 3-year-old down who has only exemplified pure brilliance? Possibly the best 3-year-old out there who is tactical, tractable and has proven that he can rate nicely behind any horse that wishes to take the lead. With 11 races under his belt; he is not only a very smart colt, but we can’t deny that also likes to win. On a lighter subject, since the Derby, I did find out that that California Chrome’s favorite food is Mrs. Pasture’s Cookies– Molasses flavored and trainer Art Sherman had to be put him on a diet of NO cookies a few days before the Derby!  


With unfinished business still on the table, will California Chrome bounce out of the Derby in excellent shape and not be affected by a quick 2-week turnaround? Could he encounter another perfect scenario, sitting behind three speed horses instead of two? Or will the speed in this race become his nemesis and strip us all from our hopes of a Triple Crown winner?


The quest continues, and our questions will be answered next Saturday in the 139th running of the Preakness Stakes.  


Good luck to all!    


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Older Comments about 2014 Preakness Stakes: Just The Facts...

I'm 24 so no
your killing me jmac your being a huge buzzkill to my triple crown hopes. IM sure your way older then me and have seen one but not me
If Chrome gets the #1 post like Orb, he'll lose.
I am sticking with 2012. Rachel v Bird was a good one too. The others I was too young for.
Nothing wrong with Rachel holding off the late onslaught by a trouble trip Mine That Bird in 2009
Though not especially speedy, the 1988 running with Risen Star, Brian's Time, and Winning Colors was pretty darned exciting, too.
best of recent history was Sunday Silence/Easy Goer without a doubt
Best preakness I ever saw was 2012, I'll Have Another doing it again to Bodemeister. The number 9 saddle cloth crossing the finish line, heading straight to my mancave wall. Also doesnt hurt that I had the Win Ticket, the Exacta, The Trifecta and Superfecta. That was probably the best sporting day of my life, even better than the breaking of Babe's Curse.
Triple Crown winner Gallant Fox won the Preakness before the Kentucky Derby.
Since this is called "Just The Facts" here's a fact. Pimlico is a dump. An important part of racing history but just a dumpy old track with historical background. I know it's blasphemous but just the facts ma'am.
  • Runnin · That's too bad, never been. With so much history, hopefully that will someday change. · 1287 days ago
Love the historic side of racing. And I hear that congratulations are in order!
  • MelanieMartines · I love the historic side of racing too! Love this kind of information! Thank you so much! We are super excited... It's only a matter of time we will be sipping Mai Tai's and getting married on the beach! Cheers! · 1288 days ago
LAZ. The Kentucky Derby, before it was to be run on the first Saturday in May, also moved around date wise, earliest running was in April and much later in May. Much had to do with the racing dates allocated to Churchill Downs.
Way back in those early days the Preakness was hled on different days of the week with some on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday andfriday and severl of them were held in June.
Not yet. The closest I got to Aqueduct was taking off at JFK and flying over it.
A couple of other facts about the Preakness: the 1890 race was held at Morris Park and was for 3yr olds and up which was one by Montague age 5. There were no three yr olds in the field. The 1894 - 1908 Preakness Stakes were held under the auspices of the Brooklyn Jockey Club and run at Gravesend Course. The race was again for three yr olds and the distance was either a mile and 1/16 or a mile and 70 yards. This time period is referred to as "the period of Exile" in books on the Preakness, most notably Joseph Challmes Book The Preakness. The race was returned in 1909.
Ever been to Aquedyct? isn't working well. Like I said been to many, many racetracks from old Cloverdale Fairgrounds in Surrey, BC to old Aqua Caliente in Mexico to Belmont Park in New York to Laurel, Turf Paradise, Yakima Meadows, Fairplex, Santa Anita, Del Mar, Los Alamitos, Longacres, Portland Meadows, Bay Meadows, Hollywood Park and many more and regrettably Pimlico Racetrack stands out as the worst. A dump. Should be closed down.
Been to many, many racetracks from old Cloverdale Fairgrounds in Surrey, b
Wikipedia omitted some of the facts about the Preakness time. The original time on the tele-timer was 1.55. It was quickly discovered that the tele-timer was malfunctioning and the time was revised down to 1.54 2/5 which is listed under the official DRF racing chart. However, the DRF timed the race at 1.53 2/5. Years later an 11 people commission unanimously voted to revise it even lower than the times of Tank’s Prospect (1985) and Louis Quatorze (1996), reasoning that even though the new revised time was lower than the DRF time, that it was thought that Secretariat actually ran faster than both those horses.

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Meet Melanie Martines

Melanie is an avid horse racing fan. She first fell in love with the sport in 2009 when she was first introduced to an article about the Pamplemousse. Her first Derby love was I Want Revenge after his spectacular win in the Wood Memorial, and would tell you that her favorite Thoroughbreds are Zenyatta, Mine That Bird and she's been following Mucho Macho Man since he was 2 years old.  

Her passion has led her to become quite knowledgeable of the sport, and has read many books on pedigree/conformation/dosage, handicapping and about great horses in racing history. She learned how to handicap a race from old-timers in the sport, and has a few favorite angles when picking a winner. 

Having a creative side to her, she is also a professional Photographer. She discovered that she was able to combine her passion for photography and horse racing and loves traveling to the California race tracks as much as she can. After returning from the Breeders' Cup races at Keeneland Race Track and experiencing the sports' first "grand-slam", the next planned adventure on her list will be Dubai for the World Cup on the last Saturday in March of 2016.
Her dream job would be behind the camera at a race track photographing everything that goes on throughout the day.
Originally from Hawaii, Melanie lives in Henderson, NV with her daughter Kaela who currently attends college. She is a graduate of UNLV and when she is not at the race track she is the Executive Assistant to the CEO of a Digital Marketing company in Las Vegas.

Visit her Sports Photography Portfolio At: 

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