The 139th Preakness Stakes, also known as the “Middle Jewel,” is the second leg of the Triple Crown, held two weeks after the Kentucky Derby.
Here’s what you need to know about the odds, the contenders, the position draw and more:
1. It is One of the Oldest Sporting Events in North America
In it’s 139th year, the first Preakness Stakes was run in 1873 with seven starters and a $2,000 purse 2 years before the Kentucky Derby in 1875. The race at Pimlico was termed “The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans” because the blanket of yellow flowers placed around the winner’s neck resembled the Maryland State flower.
Legendary horses throughout history such as Secretariat, winner of the 1973 Preakness Stakes, have all raced at Pimlico Race Course, giving the Preakness Stakes the second highest attendance in North America after the Kentucky Derby with 121,309 attendees. Every year as the horses are called to the post, it is tradition for the crowd to sing “Maryland, My Maryland.” Click here to watch a video of the anthem before the race.
The forecast for this week leading up to the 139th Preakness Stakes is rainy, but a partly cloudy day with highs around 70 degrees is the prediction for the event on Saturday, according to the Baltimore Sun. The NBC Sports Network will have coverage beginning with the preshow at 1 p.m. Eastern time. The race is on NBC at 6:20 p.m. The race can also be streamed on www.nbssports.com and HRTV.com. For the full Preakness Week schedule, click here.
2. The Position Draw is Wednesday
The Preakness position draw will take place Wednesday, May 14 at Pimlico. The draw will place each horse in a gate, determining the position of each competitor. Racing officials will use a pill pull to decide post positions. A pill pull uses a small-numbered ball in a blind draw to determine the positions.
3. InFieldFest Starts Early on Race Day & Goes All Day
InfieldFest is considered the region’s biggest party. On Saturday, May 17 the event will take place starting at 8 a.m. and close after the race. The concert will feature live performances by international superstars including Switchfoot, Eli Young Band, Nas, Lorde and Sunday Best. The “Preakness Concert Series” also includes performances by Counting Crows, The Fray and Annie Bosko in the infield on the Friday before the race called Black-Eyed Susan Day. Click here to get the recipe of the official drink of the Preakness.
— Maryland (@TravelMD) May 5, 2014
4. Kentucky Derby Champion California Chrome Is the Favorite
The Preakness is limited to a small group of 14 starters.The first 12 horses have been confirmed (below) in the race. Two more spots are vacant but unlikely to be filled.
Danza, with 7/1 odds and Social Inclusion with 8/1 odds are right behind California Chrome who’s a strong favorite with 5/8 odds. Click here to see an interview with Art Sherman, California Chrome’s trainer.
Sherman on CC adjusting to CD, going to Pim: "A good horse will run on anything. He's got the right demeanor….He does everything right."
— Jay Privman (@DRFPrivman) May 5, 2014
California Chrome (5/8)
Social Inclusion (8/1)
Ride of Curlin (12/1)
Kid Cruz (14/1)
Strong Mandate (18/1)
General A Rod (25/1)
Pablo del Monte (25/1)
Ring Weekend (25/1)
Ria Antonia (33/1)
5. Danza & Social Inclusion Are California Chrome’s Biggest Threats
Danza and Social Inclusion are listed as the second and third favorites, respectively. (Watch the video above for a breakdown from BetDSI.com.)
Danza, a horse named for the “Who’s the Boss” star entered the $1 million Arkansas Derby April 12 as a 41/1 longshot. But the horse pulled off a stunning upset, taking the lead down the stretch and running to a convincing victory in 1:49.68 and earning a spot in the Derby where he placed third behind California Chrome and Commanding Curve.
Social Inclusion, a 2-year-old, has been showing his prowess with record-breaking practice times after winning easily in his first two races. Click here to watch the Baltimore Sun’s video of Social Inclusion’s preparation for the race.
— Preakness Stakes (@PreaknessStakes) May 12, 2014