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What to know about the 144th Preakness Stakes

After an unforgettable Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes is sure to provide some fireworks. Watch all of the festivities this weekend on NBC and NBCSN.

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 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.