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History of the Preakness Stakes

Part of a long heritage of racing in Maryland, the first Preakness Stakes was run in 1873 at Pimlico Race Course, where it is still held today. The Preakness Stakes is the Middle Jewel of the prestigious Triple Crown and is commonly referred to as "The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans" for the state flower of Maryland.

What's At Stake

A winner at Pimlico takes home $1.5 million and the coveted Woodlawn Vase. The vase was originally created by Tiffany & Co. in 1860. The beautiful silver design, assessed in 1983 at $1 million, is easily the most valuable trophy in American sports. The perpetual is on display at The Baltimore Museum of Art and is brought to Pimlico Race Course by the Maryland National Guard. The winning horse is draped with a blanket of flowers that closely resemble black-eyed Susans. Because the state flower is not in bloom in May, Viking poms are used.

Historic Races

The thoroughbred race is an American Grade I stakes race which is run over a distance of one-and-3/16 miles on the dirt track. The entire day includes a full race card featuring the top performing Thoroughbreds in the world. The first race begins at 10:30 a.m. with 14 races throughout the day for guests to wager on, leading up to the running of the Preakness Stakes, the penultimate race of the day.

Only 13 horses in history have won the coveted Triple Crown and all of them showed off their prowess at Pimlico. Past historic Preakness winners include American Pharoah, ending the 37-year drought in 2015 to become thoroughbred racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner, Rachel Alexandra (the 2009 winner and first filly to win since 1924), Justify, Affirmed, Seattle Slew, Secretariat and War Admiral. Pimlico is also the site of the famed match race in which Seabiscuit triumphed over War Admiral in 1938.

The Official Cocktail

The Black-Eyed Susan is the official cocktail of the Preakness Stakes, named after the Maryland state flower. It has been the Preakness Stakes' official cocktail since the 1950s and has been reinvented several times over the years, but we’re sharing the official recipe made at Pimlico:

  • 1 part of Maker’s Mark® bourbon
  • 1 part of DeKuyper® Peachtree
  • 1 part of Effen® vodka
  • 2 parts of orange juice
  • 2 parts sour mix

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a Preakness glass over fresh crushed ice. Garnish with an orange & cherry flag.

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