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How Many Horses Are In The Preakness Race?

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. It is a Grade I race run over a distance of nine furlongs (1.9 kilometers) on dirt. The Preakness is the second jewel in the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing and is the second race of the Triple Crown series.

History of the Preakness Race

The first Preakness Stakes was held at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland on May 27, 1873. The race was named after a winning colt at Pimlico, Preakness, who was owned by Milton H. Sanford. Preakness won the Dinner Party Stakes on the same day that the first Preakness Stakes was run.

The Preakness has been held at Pimlico Race Course ever since. The race was originally run at a distance of 1 3/16 miles (1.9 kilometers), but in 1925 the distance was changed to 1 3/16 miles (1.86 kilometers).

How Many Horses Are in the Preakness Race?

The Preakness typically features a field of 14 horses. The maximum number of starters is 14, with a minimum of 8.

Eligibility of Preakness Horses

To be eligible to compete in the Preakness, a horse must meet certain criteria. Horses must:

  • Be three-year-olds – The Preakness is a race for three-year-old horses. A horse’s age is determined by its birth date, which is January 1 of the year it was foaled.
  • Have raced in the Kentucky Derby – Horses must have raced at least once in the Kentucky Derby to be eligible for the Preakness. Horses that did not race in the Kentucky Derby may be allowed to enter the Preakness if the field size is below 14 horses.
  • Meet the Preakness purse requirements – Horses must meet the minimum purse requirement set by the Maryland Jockey Club. The purse requirement for the 2020 Preakness was $2 million.
  • Be nominated to the Preakness – Horses must be nominated to the Preakness by their owners or trainers in order to be eligible to race. Horses can be nominated by March 31 of the year they are running.
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Selection of Preakness Horses

The selection of horses for the Preakness is determined by a points system. Horses that compete in the Kentucky Derby and the other races that make up the Road to the Kentucky Derby earn points for their performances. The 20 horses with the most points are eligible to compete in the Preakness.

How the Horses Are Placed in the Preakness

The horses in the Preakness are placed in post positions by a draw that is conducted the Wednesday before the race. Post positions are determined by lot and are assigned in order from the rail outward.

Scratchings from the Preakness

Horses can be scratched from the Preakness for a variety of reasons, including injury, illness, or a change of plans by the horse’s owner or trainer. Horses are usually scratched from the race the day before the race or on the morning of the race.

The Preakness Starting Gate

The Preakness Starting Gate is made up of 14 starting stalls, one for each of the horses in the race. The starting gate is located at the beginning of the homestretch and is used to start the race.

Jockeys Riding in the Preakness

Each horse in the Preakness is ridden by a jockey. The jockeys in the Preakness are some of the best in the world. They have to be in top physical condition, have a good eye for the track and have excellent horsemanship skills.

What Happens After the Race?

After the race, the horses and jockeys are taken to the winner’s circle for the presentation of trophies and awards. The trophy for the Preakness is the Woodlawn Vase, which was first presented in 1917.


The Preakness Stakes is an iconic event in horse racing and an important part of the Triple Crown series. The Preakness typically features a field of 14 horses and is one of the most watched horse races in the world. The horses in the Preakness are some of the best in the world and the jockeys are some of the most skilled. The Preakness is an exciting race that is filled with drama and excitement.