What to know about the 144th Preakness Stakes


After possibly the most memorable and historic Kentucky Derby in recent memory, all eyes are on the Preakness Stakes. For the first time since Grindstone in 1996, the Kentucky Derby winner won’t be running in the Preakness, leaving the field wide open. Maximum Security, the first horse ever to cross the Kentucky Derby finish line first and be disqualified for interference, is skipping the race. Country House, the controversial second place finisher who was elevated to first, began showing signs of a budding sickness and was pulled by trainer Bill Mott.

What is the Preakness Stakes? The Preakness Stakes is the second leg of the American Triple Crown of horse racing. Like the Kentucky Derby, it’s a Grade I Thoroughbred stakes races. The Preakness is 9.5 furlongs, or 1 3/16th miles long.

The Preakness is run on the dirt track at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. The race was first run in 1873 at Pimlico, but then moved to Morris Park Racecourse (now closed) in the Bronx, wasn’t run for three years, then jumped to Gravesend Race Track (also closed) at Coney Island before returning to Baltimore in 1909, where it’s stayed ever since.

See the post positions for the 2019 Preakness Stakes

When is the 2019 Preakness Stakes? The 144th Preakness Stakes is on Saturday, May 18. Post time will be at approximately 6:50 p.m. ET.

What’s the difference between the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby? The Kentucky Derby may be slightly older and more well-known, but the Preakness is distinct for several reasons. The field is smaller (13 horses are set to race in the Preakness compared to 19 in the Derby) and the distance is half a furlong shorter, but for any horse who just ran in the Derby, the two week turnaround time is the ultimate challenge.

Known for its raucous infield, the 2019 Preakness will feature artists Kygo, Logic, Diplo and others at its annual ‘InfieldFest‘ put on in the middle of all the action.

How can I watch the 2019 Preakness Stakes? NBC is home to the 144th Preakness Stakes, providing comprehensive race coverage and analysis live on TV and NBCSports.com before, during and after. The 95th Black-Eyed Susan Stakes, a Grade II stakes race for fillies similar to the Kentucky Oaks, will air live the day before. NBC will also broadcast the 2019 Belmont Stakes. See the broadcast schedule here.

Who are the horses to watch?

  • Two-time Triple Crown winner Bob Baffert fields Improbable with Hall of Famer Mike Smith aboard. Improbable finished 4th in the Kentucky Derby, but the addition of Smith, who jockeyed Justify to win the 2018 Triple Crown with Baffert as trainer, might make all the difference.
  • Besides Improbable, Derby contenders War of Will (7th), Win Win Win (9th) and Bodexpress (13th) are projected to run. War of Will, trained by Mark Casse, was the most impacted by Maximum Security in the Derby.
  • Alwaysmining looks to become the first Maryland-bred horse to win the Preakness Stakes since Deputed Testamony in 1983. His Maryland-based trainer Kelly Rubley is making her Triple Crown debut. If he wins, Rubley will become the first-ever woman to train a Preakness winner.
  • The Ortiz brothers will once again compete against each other. Jose Ortiz is set to ride Anothertwistafate,and Irad Ortiz Jr. will ride Bourbon War.
  • Market King will become trainer D. Wayne Lukas‘ 44th horse in the Preakness, furthering his own record for most starters in that race.

Bettor’s guide to the 2019 Preakness Stakes

Who won the 2018 Preakness Stakes? WinStar Farm’s colt Justify, trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Mike Smith, won the 143rd Preakness Stakes en route to his 2018 Triple Crown victory. He went on to win the Belmont Stakes to become the 13th-ever Triple Crown winner.

What comes after the Preakness Stakes? The 151st Belmont Stakes caps off the Triple Crown on Saturday, June 8 at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. The Belmont could see a rematch between top Kentucky Derby contenders who skipped the Preakness because of its quick turnaround time. NBC Sports will have pre-race coverage beginning on Friday, June 7. See the full broadcast schedule here.

Forte is slight 5-2 favorite for Belmont Stakes over stablemate Tapit Trice

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Forte is finally getting a crack at running in a Triple Crown race. The colt, who was scratched the day of the Kentucky Derby, is the early favorite for the Belmont Stakes.

Forte, last year’s 2-year-old champion, was made the slight 5-2 favorite for the grueling 1 1/2-mile race.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, the colt will break from the No. 6 post in the nine-horse field at Belmont Park. Pletcher’s other horse, Tapit Trice, is the 3-1 second choice and drew the No. 2 post.

Forte was the early Derby favorite, but was scratched by Kentucky officials the morning of the May 6 race because of a bruised right foot. He was on a vets’ list that kept him out of the Preakness, but has since come off it.

“He’s doing great, he’s training really well. He hasn’t missed any training,” said Mike Repole, co-owner of Forte. “We still think this is the best 3-year-old in the crop and he’s going to prove that.”

Mage, the Kentucky Derby winner, is skipping the Triple Crown finale after finishing third in the Preakness on May 20.

Angel of Empire is the third choice at 7-2. He finished third in the Derby and is one of three horses in the race trained by Brad Cox.

National Treasure, the Preakness winner trained by Bob Baffert, is 5-1. He drew the No. 4 post.

Arcangelo is 8-1 and will break from the No. 3 post. He is trained by Jena Antonucci, who will try to become the first woman trainer to win the Belmont.

The other four entries are listed at double-digit odds.

The Belmont field, in post position order, with jockeys and odds:

Tapit Shoes, Jose Ortiz, 20-1; Tapit Trice, Luis Saez, 3-1, Arcangelo, Javier Castellano, 8-1; National Treasure, 5-1, John Velazquez; Il Miracolo, 30-1, Marcos Meneses; Forte, 5-2, Irad Ortiz Jr.; Hit Show, 10-1, Manny Franco; Angel of Empire, Flavien Prat, 7-2; Red Route One, Joel Rosario, 15-1.

Preakness winner National Treasure has final workout for Belmont Stakes

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK — Preakness winner National Treasure breezed five furlongs in his final workout for the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes this weekend.

Working on the main track at Belmont Park with exercise rider Erick Garcia aboard, National Treasure was timed in 59.55 seconds and galloped out six furlongs in 1:11.20 and seven furlongs in 1:25.20. It was the second workout on the track for the Bob Baffert-trained colt.

“He worked very well this morning,” said Jimmy Barnes, Baffert’s top assistant. “It’s a big track and you can find yourself lost out there. Erick did an excellent job working him and now we’re just waiting for the race.”

National Treasure was fourth in the Santa Anita Derby before the Preakness on May 20.

Trainer Steve Asmussen’s Red Route One also posted his final work for the final jewel of the Triple Crown, breezing a half-mile in 50.20 seconds over Belmont Park’s dirt training track.

“I thought he went beautiful,” said Toby Sheets, Asmussen’s Belmont-based assistant. “It was nice and fluid and he came back with good energy. I’m very happy with him. We wanted to be out on the track before it got really busy.”

Red Route One finished fourth in the Preakness at Pimlico Race Course, almost five lengths behind National Treasure.

Kentucky Derby winner Mage is not running in the Belmont Stakes.