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Statue of Secretariat Long Island: Belmont Park (Photo courtesy of Wally Gobetz on Flickr)
Statue of Secretariat, Long Island, NY: Belmont Park (Photo courtesy of Wally Gobetz on Flickr)

When it comes to Horse Racing, there are few races more famous and prestigious in the history of US horse racing than the Preakness Stakes. The race was established at the Pimlico race course in Baltimore, Maryland. The former Maryland Governor in 1873 named it after the American thoroughbred racehorse Preakness who won the Dinner Party Stakes on the opening day of Pimlico Race Course on October 25th 1870. For a few years between 1890 and 1908, the race was run from the Morris Park Racecourse (1890) and the Gravesend Race Track (1894-1908) before it returned to Pimlico in 1909 where it has run ever since.

About The Preakness Stakes

The race itself is specifically an American Thoroughbred horse race, and it is held every year on Armed Forces Day which is the 3rd Saturday in May. The race is 9.5 furlongs which is 1 and 3/16 miles or 1900m. The race does not use hurdles and is run on a flat dirt track and the record for the race is held by world-famous thoroughbred Secretariat at 1:53.00, a record held since 1973. Though the prize money back then wasn’t even close to what it is now, Meadow Stable won $250k in 1973, while the prize won this year by Klaravich Stables horse Early Voting, was $1.5m!

One of the many things that make the Preakness Stakes such an important race in the horse racing world is that it is part of something bigger. Not only is it an incredible and exciting race on its own, but being the second jewel in the world-famous Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing makes it mean so much more. The Triple Crown consists of 3 races. Jewel One, the Kentucky Derby, is held two weeks before Jewel Two, the Preakness Stakes, followed three weeks later by Jewel Three, the Belmont Stakes.

We’ve already mentioned the 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat, but he isn’t the only famous horse to ever run and win in the Preakness Stakes. Who could forget Smarty Jones who won the 2004 Preakness Stakes in an impressive 1:55:59. Smarty Jones was one of the most memorable Triple Crown contenders of the early 2000s and went into the Preakness Stakes on a 7 race winning streak which extended to 8 after the race in Maryland. Still, unfortunately, he couldn’t quite replicate his 11 and a half length win at Pimlico Race Course and claim the Third Jewel in the Triple Crown, missing out by just one length to Birdstone, putting an end to the Triple Crown dream.

Then there was the 1997 Preakness Stakes winner, Silver Charm. The grey beauty was in stunning form in 97 and kept the Triple Crown incredibly exciting for racing fans across the world, Silver Charm would eventually go on to lose the Third Jewel in the Triple Crown as he was beaten at the Belmont Stakes by 3/4 of a length, ironically to a horse named Touch Gold. But not before he put up two crazy wins in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, winning the Kentucky Derby by a head and the Preakness Stakes in the same manner, beating Free House and Captain Bodgit with a time of 1:54.80!

The Kentucky Derby

Since we’ve been talking about the Triple Crown, it seems a sensible thing to do would be to look at a few early opinions on the First Jewel in the Triple Crown, the Kentucky Derby.

We are still quite a way off the Kentucky Derby which isn’t set to be held until May 6th 2023, but that isn’t going to stop us from whetting our whistle with some juicy opinions.

There has been a lot of talk surrounding two horses in particular, the first of those horses is Arabian Knight, the 2-year-old Colt trained by Bob Baffert under Zedan Racing Stables. Their last outing was a nice win at the 14:30 at Keeneland on Saturday, 5th November and there is a big buzz surrounding this horse, the second one is Forte, another 2-year-old Colt trained by Todd Pletcher under Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable.

Forte won the 2022 Breeders Cup at Keeneland in November and is an exciting prospect for the upcoming Kentucky Derby.

Forte has a lot more racing experience than Arabian Knight with 5 races under his belt, 2 of which were 1 and 1/16th mile runs at Keeneland, the first of which was the 2022 Breeders Futurity in October and the second being the Breeders Cup, both of which were solid wins. The majority of the Maryland bookies have favorable odds for both horses in the Kentucky Derby. The early favourite is Forte who is +1000 right now returning $55 from $5 and Arambian Knight is currently +2000 and joint 3rd favourite returning $105 from $5, of course as the race edges ever closer these odds are subject to change.

An Exciting Year Ahead

There seems to be a lot of exciting young horses in the mix this year with seemingly endless potential.. Could we see a horse follow in the footsteps of the great Secretariat and making it to the top 5 list of fastest horses in 2023? Who knows, but one thing is certain, that whilst we’re excited for the upcoming 2023 Triple Crown and Preakness race, there a few other races across the pond that we are also looking forward to.

First off, the International is coming up at Cheltenham at the beginning of December featuring the International Gold Cup, the Cross Country Chase and the Handicap Steeple Chase. Then there’s the Cheltenham Festival midway through March. The Cheltenham Festival has played host to some horses that some consider to be the greatest of all time, such as the Irish Thoroughbred Arkle who has a total of 15 major wins to his name! But with Tiger Roll creeping up on him who has 8 major wins including back-to-back Grand Nationals, there is so much more to come from the festival.

You can find lots of interesting articles like this in our section on Horse Racing.

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