Pimlico Race Course

This year will mark the 144th Preakness Stakes, which will occur at none other than the historic Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. Opened in 1870, the second-oldest thoroughbred racecourse was engineered by General John Ellicott and owned by the Maryland Jockey Club. The name Pimlico was derived from an old tavern in London that English settlers named the area after in the 1660s.

Pimlico also dons the nickname “The Old Hilltop” due to a small rise infield that became a favorite gathering location for the trainers and enthusiasts where they could view contestants up close. The hill has since been removed, as it obstructed views for television and video cameras in the 1930s.

The stadium can hold a capacity of 98,983 attendees at any given time, and is widely known for the 1938 Seabiscuit vs War Admiral race in the second annual Pimlico Special. The course consists of a one-mile dirt oval, which stretches around a seven-furlong turf oval. Their stables are rather impressive, and can house roughly 1,000 horses at any given time.

The course is owned by Stronach Group, the largest thoroughbred horse racing company in North America. Stronach Group also owns several other tracks across the United States, including Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park and Laurel Park Racecourse.

The Preakness Stakes occurs on the third Saturday in May each year. The Grade I thoroughbred horse race is held annually between the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes races. The first Preakness Stakes occurred in 1873 and was named in honor of the first Dinner Party Stakes winning colt, Preakness.

Preakness’ jockey, Billy Hayward, received a silk bag full of gold coins as his prize; it was during this race that the common term “purse” in regards to prize money was coined. The first Preakness Stakes purse in 1873 was worth $1,000; today, the Preakness Stakes purse is worth more than $1,500,000.

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