Sunrise at Pimlico. Photo by Allison Janezic.

Championship racing returns to legendary Pimlico Race Course Thursday for the opening of its 23-day Preakness Meet at Pimlico, highlighted by the 146th running of the $1 million Preakness Stakes (G1) Saturday, May 15.

Racing will be conducted at Pimlico Thursdays through Sundays with no live racing Sunday, May 16 or Thursday, May 27. The meet wraps up with a special Memorial Day holiday program Monday, May 31.­

Post time will be 12:40 p.m. with exceptions on Preakness and Black-Eyed Susan day as well as a 12:15 p.m. start Saturday, May 1, Kentucky Derby day from Churchill Downs.

This year’s Preakness meet was originally scheduled to begin May 6 but had its opening pushed up two weeks when the continuing evaluation and renovation of Laurel Park’s main track necessitated its live race dates be transferred to Pimlico.

A field of eight 3-year-olds and up will go 1 1/16 miles in a $15,000 claiming event to kick off Thursday’s 10-race opening day program. Race 2 is a $40,000 maiden special weight for fillies and mares ages 3-5 sprinting five furlongs, also on the main track.

The opening day feature comes in Race 9, an entry-level allowance for 3-year-olds and up going six furlongs that attracted a field of 11 led by narrow 3-1 program favorite Fast Break. The gelded 5-year-old son of champion Uncle Mo made his first start for trainer Brittany Russell March 21 at Laurel, chasing the pace before tiring to be fourth, beaten three lengths, racing for the first time in more than a year. Russell’s husband, jockey Sheldon Russell, rides from Post 3.

Pimlico will serve up an 11-race program Friday, April 23 that includes a pair of allowance events. The first comes in Race 7 for Maryland-bred/sired fillies and mares 3 and up sprinting six furlongs. The Russells figure to be prominent again with Juror Number Four, an Into Mischief filly making her sophomore debut after running second to Street Lute in the Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship Dec. 5 at Laurel. Also entered are 2020 Wide Country winner Naughty Thoughts and Proper Attire, exiting back-to-back victories in January and February at Laurel.

Friday’s 10th race is an entry-level allowance for fillies and mares 3 and up at 1 1/16 miles with a field of eight including Moonsafe, a 15 ¼-length maiden claiming winner Feb. 27 at Laurel also being considered for Saturday’s Weber City Miss, and Judi Blue Eyes, in the money in 13 of 22 career starts.

Trevor McCarthy has claimed the past two Pimlico jockey titles, but is currently riding in New York. Sheldon Russell had six wins, one more than Jevian Toledo, when Laurel’s spring meet was canceled following the April 11 program and ultimately canceled with its dates moved to Pimlico.

Claudio Gonzalez swept all four meets in Maryland in 2020 including his first Pimlico stand. Overall he owns 16 meet titles including 10 of the last 11 at Laurel dating back to 2018, and has led all Maryland trainers in wins the past four years.


Following are the jockeys and trainers who were the hottest over the last 15 or so live cards at Laurel Park. The metric is based on wins, win percentage, and wagering return on investment.


1Russell Sheldon147
2Rosado Johan120
3Cruz Angel116
4Marquez Charlie89
5Gomez Kevin88

The average score for all 24 jockeys who won at least once during the period was 50.9 points.


1Gonzalez Claudio A164
2Russell Brittany T120
3Mancilla Carlos A114
4Jenkins Rodney87
5Ness Jamie84

The average score for all 47 trainers who won at least once during the period was 45.5 points.