History of the Preakness Stakes

Thoroughbred Racing at the Great Race Place


Introduced in 1873 when Pimlico Racecourse held its first spring meet, the race has become one of the most important in American thoroughbred racing.


Survivor won the first Preakness Stakes in 1873 by ten lengths, the largest margin of victory for over a century until Smarty Jones won by 11 1/2 lengths in 2004.


Secretariat owns the fastest time in the Preakness of 1:53.00, Man o’ War won the 1920 Preakness after skipping the Kentucky Derby.


The Preakness has been won by 35 winners of the Kentucky Derby, including 12 triple crown winners and fillies have won the Preakness five times.


The 145th Preakness Stakes will run on the third Saturday in May, 2020 covering 1 3/16th miles. The race has been run at 1 3/16 miles since 1925.


The Preakness Stakes has been run at different distances throughout history and remains today, the shortest of the three triple crown races.


The highest paying winner, Master Derby in 1975, paid $48.80 to win; with Citation in 1948 and Spectacular Bid in 1979 both paying $2.20 at the low end of the spectrum.


Huge crowds and high television ratings are normal for the crown jewel of Maryland’s thoroughbred racing.