Preakness Stakes is an annual horse race that takes place on the third Saturday of May. It is held in Baltimore, on a 1,900-metre track at Pimlico Race Course, where three-year-old thoroughbred horses race. It is the second event in the Triple Crown, which begins with the Kentucky Derby, and is the shortest of the three races.
The first Preakness Stakes was held on May 27, 1873, and it began as a 2.41km race. The sporting event was named by Governor Oden Bowie after a colt named Preakness who won the first-ever race to be held in the Pimlico Race Course. On the first race, seven thoroughbreds participated, and the race was won by a horse named Survivor.
The race had a three-year hiatus, returning in 1894 where it was run in New York, until 1908, when it returned to Baltimore and was set permanently at Pimlico.
Before the race, attendees sing the third verse of the state song of Maryland, "Maryland, My Maryland". The song dates back to the American Civil War, where it was sung as a rallying cry to encourage the troops.
After the race, when the winner has been named, a painter climbs up to the cupola of the Old Clubhouse, and paints the weather vane in the winner's colors, in a tradition that is known as the "painting of the colors".
The Preakness Stakes is also known as the Run for the black-eyed Susans, because the winning horse is draped in a blanket of daisies that have their center painted in black to look like the state flower of Maryland.
The winning Jockey is awarded the Woodland Vase, a precious trophy designed by Tiffany & Co. The trophy stands three-foot-tall and is valued at one million dollars, so the winner gets to hold it after the race, but can only take a replica home.
If a horse wins all the three races in the Triple Crown event, it is awarded the Triple Crown. Only 13 horses have been the winners of the Triple Crown since the events have been held.