Today is the Preakness Stakes. Nyquist is the favorite. Nyquist won the Kentucky Derby this year in a race where the top four horses won. Even the Superfecta payouts were lower than usual.
Yes, after last year’s thrilling run by American Pharoah, this year’s Triple crown just doesn’t have the excitement – yet.
(In case you were under a rock somewhere, American Pharoah is the American Thoroughbred racehorse who won the American Triple Crown and the Breeders’ Cup Classic in 2015. In winning all four races, he became the first horse to win the “Grand Slam” of American horse racing.)
What is a brief history on the Preakness?
- The Preakness Stakes is an American flat thoroughbred horse race held on the third Saturday in May each year at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland.
- First run in 1873
- The 141st Preakness Stakes will be on Saturday, May 21, 2016. (TODAY)
- The Preakness Stakes were run for the first time two years before the Kentucky Derby.
What makes the Preakness different from the Kentucky Derby?
- The Preakness Stakes, the second leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown, may not create quite the stir that the Kentucky Derby does, but it does bring with it some subtle differences that make the race just as compelling.
- It is not a great deal shorter than the Derby, but that extra 1/16 of a mile makes it easier for horses to go full speed right from the start. The Preakness Stakes plays much faster because everyone is allowed to jump right out of the gate as hard as they can.
- Unlike the Kentucky Derby, which is based more on power than speed, depending on the weather conditions, Pimlico plays as a faster race track.
- Pimlico’s surface is much more firm than what you will find at Churchill Downs. As a result, the horses are able to gain better traction with their footing.
How does this translate to BETTING DIFFERENCES? Here are four considerations:
- The shorter distance means that horses that struggled to get the Derby distance might handle this one better.
- Horses who run in the Derby and the Preakness have to race just two weeks. While this used to be typical for racing, the “big Horses” now are used to more time between important races. The ability to handle a shorter rest is a big factor in how well they will do in the Preakness.
- Related to the previous difference, about half the field in the Preakness is made up of horses that did not run in the Derby. Some of these new horses are going to be much fresher than the Derby horses, and in many cases they are more familiar with running at Pimlico than the Derby horses will be.
- The Preakness is capped at 14 runners. The Derby has 20 horses in the field, bringing fewer potential concerns for a winning path. As a result, while in the Derby, horses are almost guaranteed to encounter trouble of some sort at one point, in the Preakness it can be easier for a horse to find a smooth trip.
Finally, Jeremy Plonk, from ESPN, lists the following differences for those attending. It’s just not the same tourist-fest that the Kentucky Derby is, but Pimlico and the Preakness have their own quirky traditions:
- Fashion: Like the Derby, it depends on the area of the facility. Those with reserved seats will be finely fashionable to business casual. Those in the infield, well, it’s unofficially “clothing optional.”
- Drink: The Black-Eyed Susan is a mixture of vodka,
light rum and Cointreau, along with pineapple juice and orange juice. Shake the ingredients, pour over crushed ice, garnish with lime.
- Traditions: The Preakness’ version of “My Old Kentucky Home” is “Maryland, My Maryland,” the state song.
- The black-eyed Susan, the Maryland state flower, is nearly synonymous with The Preakness. The flower has yellow leaves and is black in the middle. After the race, the Preakness winner receives an arrangement consisting of about 2000 blooms sewn on to a mesh of black rubber and decorated with a variety of greens.
There you have it. You’re primed for the Preakness.