The Preakness Stakes is one of the three Triple Crown races in horse racing, alongside the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes. Every year, the Preakness is held at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland and it is the second of the three races to be held. It is a major event that draws in a large crowd of spectators and is the focus of the horse racing world for a few days.
But just how many horses participate in the Preakness each year? This article will answer that question and discuss the history of the Preakness and how the number of horses in the race has changed over the years.
History of the Preakness
The Preakness Stakes has a long and storied history. It was first run in 1873 and has taken place every year since then, with the exception of 1890 and 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The event was named after the horse Preakness, who won the Dinner Party Stakes at Pimlico in 1870.
The Preakness has traditionally been held on the third Saturday in May, although there have been some deviations from this schedule over the years. The event has a purse of $1.5 million, making it one of the most lucrative horse races in the United States.
Number of Horses in the Preakness
The Preakness is a Grade I stakes race, which means that it is restricted to three-year-old horses. As such, the maximum number of horses allowed to participate in the Preakness is 14. This has been the case since 2009, when the field was expanded from 12 horses to 14.
However, the number of horses that enter the Preakness is not always the same. In recent years, the number of horses in the race has been between 8 and 10. This is due to the fact that many horses do not qualify for the race, as they have not earned enough points in the major prep races leading up to the Preakness.
Notable Preakness Winners
The Preakness has been won by some of the most famous horses in racing history. The most notable winners include:
- Secretariat, who won the 1973 Triple Crown
- Affirmed, who won the 1978 Triple Crown
- Seattle Slew, who won the 1977 Triple Crown
- Cigar, who won 16 races in a row from 1994 to 1996
- War Admiral, who won the 1937 Triple Crown
- Riva Ridge, who won the 1972 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes
- American Pharoah, who won the 2015 Triple Crown
- Smarty Jones, who won the 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes
- California Chrome, who won the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes
- Big Brown, who won the 2008 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes
Notable Preakness Records
Over the years, many horses have made their mark on the Preakness Stakes. Here are some of the most notable records in the race’s history:
- The fastest time in the race is 1:53, set by Secretariat in 1973.
- The most wins by a jockey is seven, set by Eddie Arcaro.
- The most wins by a trainer is seven, set by R.W. Walden.
- The most wins by an owner is three, set by Calumet Farm.
- The oldest horse to win the Preakness is Survivor, who was five years old when he won in 1877.
- The youngest jockey to win the Preakness is Steve Cauthen, who was 18 years old when he won in 1978.
- The most consecutive wins by a jockey is four, set by Gary Stevens.
- The most consecutive wins by a trainer is three, set by Robert Wyndham Walden.
- The most consecutive wins by an owner is two, set by Calumet Farm.
Notable Preakness Winners Who Failed to Win the Triple Crown
Many horses have won the Preakness Stakes, but failed to win the Triple Crown. Some of the most notable horses who won the Preakness but not the Triple Crown include:
- Funny Cide, who won the 2003 Preakness Stakes.
- Real Quiet, who won the 1998 Preakness Stakes.
- Pleasant Colony, who won the 1981 Preakness Stakes.
- Tim Tam, who won the 1958 Preakness Stakes.
- Whirlaway, who won the 1941 Preakness Stakes.
- Citation, who won the 1948 Preakness Stakes.
- Gallant Fox, who won the 1930 Preakness Stakes.
- Man o’ War, who won the 1920 Preakness Stakes.
Notable Preakness Losers
While many horses have won the Preakness Stakes, there have also been some notable horses who have failed to win the race. Some of the most notable Preakness losers include:
- California Chrome, who finished fourth in 2014.
- Big Brown, who finished last in 2008.
- Smarty Jones, who finished second in 2004.
- Point Given, who finished fifth in 2001.
- Fusaichi Pegasus, who finished second in 2000.
- Silver Charm, who finished second in 1997.
- Sunday Silence, who finished second in 1989.
- Alysheba, who finished fourth in 1987.
- Spectacular Bid, who finished third in 1979.
- Northern Dancer, who finished third in 1964.
Notable Preakness Horses of the 2020s
The 2020s have seen some notable horses participate in the Preakness Stakes. Here are some of the most notable Preakness horses of the decade:
- Exaggerator, who won the 2016 Preakness Stakes.
- Always Dreaming, who won the 2017 Preakness Stakes.
- Justify, who won the 2018 Preakness Stakes.
- War of Will, who won the 2019 Preakness Stakes.
- Swiss Skydiver, who finished second in 2020.
- Midnight Bourbon, who finished second in 2021.
In conclusion, the Preakness Stakes is one of the most prestigious horse races in the world. The maximum number of horses allowed in the race is 14, although in recent years the number of horses in the race has been between 8 and 10 due to the qualification criteria. The Preakness has been won by some of the most famous horses in racing history, including Secretariat, Affirmed, Seattle Slew, and Cigar.
The 2020s have seen some notable horses participate in the Preakness Stakes, such as Exaggerator, Always Dreaming, Justify, War of Will, Swiss Skydiver, and Midnight Bourbon. The Preakness is sure to continue to be a thrilling event for many years to come.