Things have come a long way since the original purse of $2,050. According to WBAL TV, the 2018 Preakness Stakes purse is $1.5 million. Based on data released by The Triple Crown in 2017, the winner gets $900,000 which is 60 percent of the total purse.
Based on this data, here is what this year’s top finishers can expect to take away. Second place earns $300,000, third place takes away $165,000, fourth place wins $90,000 and the fifth spot receives $45,000. These numbers are what the entire race team receives, and each ownership group divides up the spoils differently.
The Preakness has a smaller purse than the Kentucky Derby, which has a total purse of $2 million with the winner earning $1.24 million.
WBAL TV provides a few interesting facts about the Preakness Stakes. Kentucky is the overwhelming home to Preakness winners with 97 past winners bred in the state. Maryland is next in line with eight winners followed by Florida at seven. The name of the Pimlico track comes from a Native American tribe in northern New Jersey.
The Minisi, a northern New Jersey tribe of Native Americans, used to call their area Pra-qua-les, which meant “quail wood.” After a series of spellings, the name eventually evolved into Preakness. A thoroughbred owner was attracted to the name in the 1870s, calling his farms in New Jersey and Kentucky, “Preakness.” His New Jersey farms was in the Native Americans’ “quail woods.” There remains a Preakness, New Jersey, today.
Bob Baffert has been one of the most successful trainers when it comes to the Preakness. The Baltimore Sun detailed why Baffert and others in the business enjoy the stop in Baltimore, noting it tends to be a lot less stressful than the Kentucky Derby week.
He [Bob Baffert] generally looks forward to the Preakness as a relative respite during the five-week crucible of the Triple Crown series. It features the shortest week of preparation, the lowest-key environment and generally the thinnest field of the three races.
“We come here, we’re a little stressed out, but they just roll out the red carpet for everybody, and it means a lot,” he said.
Baffert has certainly thrived in Baltimore, winning the race with his first four Derby winners, with Point Given in 2001 and Lookin At Lucky in 2010. If he wins No. 7, he would tie a trainer from a very different time and place.
According to Pimlico, the track opened in 1870 making it the second oldest in the United States. The Maryland Jockey Club purchased the land for $23,500, and constructed the track for an additional $25,000. The track notes it was one of the few tracks to remain in business in the early 1900’s when gambling took a hit.
Racing in Pimlico even survived a 1910 anti-gambling movement that swept the country, prohibiting the sport everywhere, except in Maryland and Kentucky. Colonel Matt Winn of Churchill Downs is alleged to have credited Pimlico’s Billy Riggs as the savior of eastern racing at this time. It was Riggs’ use of the less-sinful “French Pools,” or pari-mutuel machines, in 1913 as opposed to the controversial bookmakers and their blackboards, that preserved racing at Pimlico during this turbulent time in racing. A new era was born at Pimlico, which later became the first racetrack in the country to utilize an electric starting gate.