2019 Preakness Stakes Facts
The Preakness Stakes has been mired in turmoil since the end of the Kentucky Derby this year, and it isn't likely shaping up to be the most exciting edition of the race we have ever seen. But despite the lack of zing, it still shapes up to be a good race, and one that should be very much worth watching. As you are getting ready for the second jewel of the Triple Crown this year, you might have some questions. And we have answers. Here are some Preakness facts to get you ready for Baltimore's big day:
When, where and what time is the Preakness Stakes?: The 2019 edition of the Preakness Stakes takes place on Saturday, May 18, at Pimlico in Baltimore. You should appreciate the setting, because it seems increasingly likely that the days of the race at Pimlico are numbered. I'd bet that we'll see it at Laurel Park in the next couple of years. The post time for the race is set to be 6:20 p.m. ET. There are many good races on the Preakness undercard, though, so don't just tune in for the big race.
Minimum trifecta bet on the Preakness?: The trifecta could be a nice betting option for the Preakness this year, with a field small enough to be manageable but big enough to offer a decent return even if a favorite wins. You have to, of course, pick the top three finishers in the race, and you have to pick them in the correct order. When you bet the trifecta, you typically bet several different combinations of horses. At the Preakness, and at the Kentucky Derby for that matter, the minimum bet you can make per combination is 50 cents.
Biggest Preakness bet: We can't know what the biggest bet ever on the Preakness has ever been. The tracks don't like to talk about individual bets, and most big bettors like anonymity -- from both publicity and the tax man. We can be confident, though, that there have been some eye-meltingly large bets based on this race, and that seven figure scores have been made on Preakness day. I would guess that some serious bets were put down involving the last two Triple Crown winners, because both came to Baltimore looking like they had no intention of losing.
Amount of money bet on the Preakness annually: Last year's handle of $93,655,128 on the Preakness day card was solid, but almost four million dollars below the previous year, which was a record. The lousy weather surely didn't help -- the attendance of 134,487 was down almost 6,000 from the record-setting 2017 mark.
Preakness wagering options: If you have bet on other races, then you are mostly familiar with what is available here. All of the classics are available. You can bet a horse to win, place or show. That means you are betting on a horse to win, finish first or second, or finish first, second or third, respectively. Obviously, the win bet will pay more than the show bet if you are correct. You can bet the exacta, which is picking the top two finishers in the correct order. Or you can bet the quinella, which is the top two horses in any order. The trifecta is betting the top three in the right order, and the superfecta is the top four in the right order. If you are really feeling aggressive you can bet the Super High Five, which is the top five in the right order. It is very tough to hit in this race, but it usually pays very well - last year a $1 bet paid more than $283,000. You can also bet the Daily Double, Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5 or Pick 6, which combines picking the winner in the Derby with the winner of 1,2,3,4 or 5 prior races. Obviously, the more races you involve, the higher the price. One popular combination bet that is unique to the Preakness is the Black Eyed Susan-Preakness double, which involves picking winners of both the Preakness and the Black Eyed Susan, the highlight race of the Friday card.
How many horses run in the Preakness?: Though they are just two weeks apart, there are many differences between the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. One is the size of the field. The Derby has 20 spots in the starting gate, and most years if they aren't all filled it is due to a late scratch -- like we had this year. That is bigger than every other race in North America, though. The Preakness limits itself to 14 starters, which is more typical for major races, and typically falls well short of that maximum. This year it seems like we will see something in the range of 10 or 11 starters.
How old are the horses in the Preakness?: All of these runners are the same age -- horses can run in Triple Crown races only when they are three-years-old. That's part of why the stakes are so high for these races -- you get only one chance at them. All thoroughbreds have a birthday on Jan. 1 regardless of when they were actually born to keep thing simpler. That Jan. 1 birth date is why it is almost impossible to get into a thoroughbred stable for the last week or two of December - if a horse happens to be born in late December that will be hidden until early January, or else the horse would turn one-year-old when it was really just days old. Horses that are born later in the year are at a distinct advantage, which made Maximum Security's efforts this spring so impressive -- he's a very late foal, not having been born until May.
What horse has the fastest Preakness time?: Secretariat holds the record of 1:53, but he has actually held the record only since 2012. He was originally clocked in 1:54.2, which was just slower that Canonero II had run the race. But that time was controversial, and in 2012 the Maryland Jockey Club changed it to the current record, giving Secretariat track records in all three Triple Crown races that still stand to this day.
How many Triple Crown winners in history?: There have been 13 winners of the Triple Crown, with the first coming in 1919, and the last just short of 100 years later in 2018.
Last horse to win the Triple Crown?: You don't need to have a very long memory to know this one -- Justify earned Bob Baffert his second Triple Crown in four years last year, after a Triple Crown drought that had stretched back to 1978 when Affirmed won all three races.
Triple Crown Winners List: 1919 - Sir Barton, 1930 - Gallant Fox, 1935 - Omaha, 1937 - War Admiral, 1941 - Whirlaway, 1943 - Count Fleet, 1946 - Assault, 1948 - Citation, 1973 - Secretariat, 1977 - Seattle Slew, 1978 - Affirmed, 2015 - American Pharoah, 2019- Justify.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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