What to know about the 144th Preakness Stakes

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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.

Pegasus on Jan. 28, Florida Derby on April 1 at Gulfstream

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. — Gulfstream Park announced the schedule for the 2022-23 Championship Meet, highlighted by the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational on Jan. 28.

Also on Pegasus day: The $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational, as well as the $500,000 Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

Gulfstream’s top Kentucky Derby prep race, the $1 million Florida Derby, will be run on April 1 as part of a card with 10 stakes races. Other top 3-year-old preps at Gulfstream in early 2023 include the $150,000 Mucho Macho Man on Jan. 1, the $250,000 Holy Bull on Feb. 4 and the $400,000 Fountain of Youth on March 4.

The Pegasus is returning for a seventh time. The format has changed several times in the race’s infancy; the purse structure for the Pegasus World Cup no longer requires owners to put up $1 million apiece for a spot in the starting gate for what was, at its inception, the world’s richest race with a purse that reached $16 million.

This much has remained constant: Winning the Pegasus changes a horse’s resume. No Pegasus winner has ever finished worse than sixth in the yearlong earnings among North American horses, and two past winners – Arrogate and Gun Runner – are two of the three highest-earning thoroughbreds in U.S. history.

Gulfstream’s Championship Meet runs from Dec. 26 through April 2, featuring 60 stakes races, 35 of them graded, and worth a combined $13.6 million.

Stradivarius, 3-time Ascot Gold Cup winner, retired to stud

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LONDON – Stradivarius, one of the most famous racehorses in Britain and Ireland after winning the Gold Cup at Ascot three times, has been retired to stud.

Bjorn Nielsen, the owner of Stradivarius, said he felt it would be unfair to make the horse come back next season as a 9-year-old after time away with a bruised foot.

“It has been a fairytale from start to finish,” Nielsen told British newspaper The Racing Post.

Stradivarius, bred in Ireland and the son of Sea The Stars, won 20 of his 35 races – including seven Group One races – and earned almost 3.5 million pounds (now $3.8 million) in prize money.

Stradivarius won four Goodwood Cups, three Yorkshire Cups and two Doncaster Cups.