Most horse racing fans will be watching the 2019 Preakness Stakes this weekend. If you are with your friends you are certainly going to want to impress them with your knowledge of the race.
I’m going to fill you in on some random trivia so you can look like a horse racing genius. If you’re unable to pick the race winner, at least you’ll have some fun facts to contribute.
Trophy – The winning owner is awarded the Woodlawn Vase, created by Tiffany & Co. The trophy is considered priceless, but has an estimated appraised value of over $4 million, earning it the moniker of “The Most Valuable Trophy in American Sports”.
Flower – The Preakness winner is supposed to be adorned with the state flower of Maryland. It is the Black Eyed Susan, much like the Derby winner is draped in roses. However, the Black Eyes Susans only blooms during the summer and fall so the winner actually gets coverd with Viking Daisies, which are carefully crafted to look similar to the Black Eyed Susan.
First Race – The first running of the Preakness took place back in 1873 and was won by Survivor, who won by 10 lengths. About 12,000 people showed up to watch and the purse was $2,050. There were only three races that day, instead of the 13-race marathon that will take place on Saturday.
Date of Race – Many people know the Preakness as the second leg of the Triple Crown, but did you know that it was actually held before the Kentucky Derby eleven times between 1888 and 1931? Also, in 1890 the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes were both held on the same day. In 1918, there were divisions so two winners were crowned.
These days the Preakness is always held on the third Saturday of May (two weeks after the Kentucky Derby), which is always held on the first Saturday in May.
Top Jockey – Eddie Arcaro, who earned the nickname “The Master,” is the all-time winningest jockey at the Preakness with six titles. The leading active jockeys are Kent Desormeaux, who has won three titles, with Exaggerator (2016), Big Brown (2008), and Real Quiet (1998), and Victor Espinoza, who also has three victories, on American Pharaoh (2015), California Chrome (2014), and War Emblem (2002).
Men Only – There have been four fillies that have won this race, but only two female jockeys have ever raced. The first was Patricia Cooksey back in 1985, who finished sixth on Tajawa, then Adrea Seefeldt finished seventh in 1994 while riding Looking. No female trainer has ever won the Preakness, but Nancy Alberts trained Magic Weisner to a second place showing back in 2002.
Largest Margin of Victory – Smarty Jones holds the largest margin of victory when he won by 11 1/2 lengths in 2004. That broke the record that had stood since Survivor won the first race. Funny Cide won by 9 3/4 lengths in 2003, but more races have come down to the wire with six races being decided by a nose and eleven being won by a head.
Biggest Upset – Back in 1975, Master Derby upset the field and returned $48.80 for a $2 wager. That’s a far cry from the Derby, which has seen two 50-to-1 or higher underdogs come through this decade.
Top Trainers – The all-time leaders in training winners are R. Wyndham Walden, who won for the seventh time back in 1888, and Bob Baffert who won his seventh Preakness in 2018. Baffert is still active and is very likely to train more winners before he’s done. D. Wayne Lukas has trained six Preakness winners.
Trainer/Jockey Combo – Two different people have won the Preakness as both a trainer and as a jockey. Louis Schaefer got his win riding Dr. Freeland in 1929 and then trained Challedon in 1939. Johnny Longdon rode Count Fleet in 1943 and trained the winner in 196; Majestic Prince.