PREAKNESS TO HIGHLIGHT PIMLICO MEET
Featuring the return of the $1 million Preakness Stakes (G1) to its familiar position as the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown, the Maryland Jockey Club will offer 16 stakes, 10 graded, worth $3.25 million in purses over Preakness weekend, May 14-15, at Pimlico Race Course.
Postponed to Oct. 3 last year amid the coronavirus pandemic, the latest running in a history that dates back to 1873, the 146th Preakness for 3-year-olds going 1 3/16 miles highlights a program of 10 stakes, six graded, worth $2.25 million Saturday, May 15 that includes the 120th edition of the $250,000 Dinner Party (G2) for 3-year-olds and up on turf, Pimlico’s oldest stakes race and the eighth-oldest in the country, debuting in 1870.
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In 2020, Swiss Skydiver become only the sixth filly in race history to win the Preakness, beating Kentucky Derby (G1) and subsequent Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Authentic, who would go on to be named champion 3-year-old male and Horse of the Year. Swiss Skydiver was named champion 3-year-old filly.
Other graded-stakes on the Preakness undercard are the $200,000 Chick Lang (G3) for 3-year-olds sprinting six furlongs, $150,000 Gallorette (G3) for fillies and mares 3 and up going 1 1/16 miles on the grass, $150,000 Maryland Sprint (G3) at six furlongs for 3-year-olds and up, and $100,000 Arabian Derby (G1) for Arabian 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles.
Sophomores will also be in the Preakness Day spotlight in both the $100,000 Sir Barton going 1 1/16 miles on dirt and $100,000 James W. Murphy at one mile on the grass. Rounding out the stakes are the $100,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint, a five-furlong dash for 3-year-olds and up, and $100,000 Skipat for females 3 and older sprinting six furlongs.
Both the Maryland Sprint, which had run continuously since its debut in 1989, and Sir Barton, first held in 1993 and named for racing’s first Triple Crown winner, return to the stakes schedule this year.
The 97th running of the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan (G2), one of the premiere events in the country for 3-year-old fillies and contested at 1 1/8 miles, returns to its spot as the feature on Preakness eve, Friday, May 14, after being run as part of the revamped Preakness 2020 program.
A total of six stakes, four graded, worth $1 million in purses help comprise the Black-Eyed Susan Day card, including the historic $250,000 Pimlico Special (G3) for 3-year-olds and up at 1 3/16 miles, $150,000 Miss Preakness (G3) for 3-year-old fillies sprinting six furlongs, and $150,000 Allaire du Pont (G3).
For fillies and mares 3 and up going 1 1/8 miles, the du Pont resumes its spot on the Black-Eyed Susan day program after being rescheduled to late December and run as the last graded-stakes on the East Coast in 2020.
Two grass races round out the May 14 stakes program – the $100,000 Hilltop for 3-year-old fillies going a mile and $100,000 The Very One, a five-furlong dash for fillies and mares 3 and older.
The Preakness Meet at Pimlico is scheduled to open Friday, May 7 and conclude with a special Memorial Day program Monday, May 31.
Live racing is currently being conducted in Maryland at Laurel Park, which is nearing the March 28 end of its 2021 winter meet. The next live program will be Saturday, March 13 featuring five stakes worth $450,000 in purses including the $100,000 Private Terms for 3-year-olds and $100,000 Beyond the Wire for 3-year-old fillies.