One hundred and forty-four years ago, some Maryland horsemen wanted to prove their state could run with the big boys when it came to high-profile horse racing. Thus was born the Preakness Stakes, a race that has morphed into the Free State’s biggest annual party, when upwards of 100,000 people (more than 135,000 last year, a record) find their way to Pimlico for the day’s action.
Those festivities include the race, of course, sandwiched between the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes as part of horse racing’s Triple Crown. But there’s also so much more: food and drink, live entertainment and the festive quagmire that is InfieldFest. For no sporting event do Marylanders assemble in greater numbers.
Here is a guide for both veteran Preakness attendees and those new to the tradition. In truth, there’s so much going on, one might almost forget there’s a horse race involved. So remember: Saturday’s racing starts at 10:30 a.m., with post time for the Preakness about 6:45 p.m.