Frequently asked questions about Preakness

By Tim Swift, The Baltimore Sun  

2:17 PM EDT, April 28, 2014


The rest of the country may know the Preakness Stakes as the second leg of the Triple Crown, but here locals know it as one of Maryland's biggest parties. An event this big requires some planning and begs a lot of questions. Can I bring a beach ball? (No.) Can I bring my 10-year-old nephew? (Yes.) So whether this is your first Preakness or you're a grizzled infield veteran this primer should come in handy.

Need a question answered that's not listed? Email Tim Swift at timswift@baltsun.com, and we'll add to the list. And for news and more information on the Preakness 2014, visit The Sun's special Preakness section.

When is the Preakness?

The 2014 Preakness Stakes will be held on Saturday, May 17. The gates will open at 8 a.m. Musical acts perform throughout the day. The actual race starts about 6:15 p.m.

How long does it last?

If you count the concerts and the socializing, the Preakness can be an all-day event, but the actual horse race lasts only about 2 minutes.

Where is the Preakness?

The Preakness is held at Pimlico Race Course, 5201 Park Heights Ave., Baltimore.

How do I buy tickets and how much are they?

Purchase tickets by calling 877-206-8042 or by going to ticketfly.com.

Tickets to the Preakness Stakes vary depending on where you are in relation to the track. Also, the the price of tickets for access to the infield rises the week of the race and again on the day of the race. On race day, you can not move from the grandstands to the infield or vice versa.

Here's the breakdown:

More info on prices can be found at preakness.com

What is Black Eyed Susan Day?

The Friday before the Preakness is Black-Eyed Susan Day at Pimlico. The gates open at 10 a.m. and the infield opens at 2 p.m. It includes the 90th running of the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes for 3-year-old fillies and appearances by notable female jockeys, with some proceeds going to breast cancer research.

This year the infield concert features rockers Counting Crows (7:30 p.m.), The Fray (5:30 p.m.) and Annie Bosko (4 p.m.). The show is part of the People's Pink Party, a partnership between Pimlico and Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Tickets are $40. Call 877-206-8042 or go to blackeyedsusanday.com

Can I leave Pimlico on race day and come back later?

No. If you leave, you can't re-enter the course using the same ticket. This applies to all areas including the infield and the grandstand.

Are ATMs available?

Yes. ATMs will be placed in both the grandstand and infield areas.

Can I get there without driving?


By Public Transit: Maryland Transit Administration bus lines 27, 91, 44 and 54 (via Park Heights Avenue) all drop passengers off near the racetrack. Round-trip bus passes are $3.20 and day passes are $3.50. The MTA is also running shuttles from the Rogers Avenue Metro station and the Cold Spring Lane light rail station.

By Taxi: Getting there shouldn't be an issue, but taxis can be hard to find afterward. There should be some cabs available on the west side of Pimlico Road (off Northern Parkway).

Where do I park?

Close to Preakness, official lots may become full -- try ticketmaster.com. Nearby street parking is possible, but spotty. Some neighborhood residents rent spaces in their driveways and lawns; park there at your own risk.

What are the age restrictions?

You must be 18 years old to bet on the races and 21 years old to drink alcohol. People under 18 and 21 can attend the Preakness in all areas including the infield, but Pimlico's alcohol policy is strictly enforced.

Who are the musical acts?

New Zealand pop star Lorde (above) will play the main stage. Switchfoot, country act Eli Young Band, classic rock-meets-country duo Sundy Best and the electronic dance music-leaning cover band Go Go Gadjet will play the Jagermeister stage.

What can't you bring?

All areas:

Infield only:

Grandstands only: With greater security in place, the restrictions in this area are almost now identical to the infield. Coolers are banned from the grandstands unless the cooler is a clear, see-through plastic container (18” x 18”).

What can you bring?

Infield and Grandstand: Picnic lunches and other food items are OK. They can be carried in small clear bags or small clear plastic containers. Thermoses are not allowed.

Infield only:Beach blankets and plastic chairs are allowed, and cellphones and cameras up to 35mm are allowed in both the infield and Top of the Stretch.

Where can I watch the Preakness on TV?

The race airs live on NBC (WBAL Channel 11); coverage begins at 4:30 p.m. NBC Sports Network, Horse Racing TV (HRTV).

Why is it called the Preakness?

Preakness was named for the first colt to win the first stakes ever run at Pimlico.

For news and more information on the Preakness 2014, visit The Sun's special Preakness section.