Varsity kicked off the 2012 Preakness with a win in a five-furlong run on Pimlico's turf. He entered the race as the favorite at 7-5.
Agnostic, ridden by Maryland's 2011 top jockey Sheldon Russell, finished second, while Night Office took third.
Race 2: Deputed Testamony Stakes
Bailey's Beach edged Strangerinthenight and Albrecht to win the second race of the day, a 1 1/16 mile ride on the dirt track.
Bailey's Beach, like Varsity in Race 1, entered as a 7-5 favorite. Russell, aboard the runner-up, finished in the money for the second time today. Javier Santiago, riding the winner, said he didn't want the horse to flatten out if he got in front too early.
"Our jockey understood the slow pace and he took him off of it to conserve his energy," trainer Hugh McMahon said. "With the slow pace, he had plenty left."
Race 3: Gallorette Stakes
Zagora closed strong down the stretch to win the $150,000 Gallorette Stakes in Pimlico's third race of Preakness Day.
Speak Easy finished second, busting out of the gate to take command for most of the race before Zagora, the even-money favorite, closed.
"Once she gets settled and gathers herself together, she really has a strong kick. Javier's a top rider and when he's on my horses, I'm a lot less nervous. Nine times out of 10 he finds a way."
Heavy favorite Paynter outlasted Brimstone Island and Respectful Ed to take the $50,000 purse in the fourth race.
He paid just $2.20 as a winner, and the three horses with the highest odds finished in the top three positions.
Paynter is trained by Bob Baffert, who will saddle Preakness favorite Bodemeister later today.
The favorites continued to roll as Wire Funds, who held 9-2 odds, defeated 7-2 favorite Coach Fridge in Pimlico's fifth race.
Wire Funds paid $8.20 to win, and the runner-up paid $4.80 to place.
Coach Fridge is trained by Hamilton Smith, a Laurel-based trainer who had his first horse run in a Triple Crown race two weeks ago in the Kentucky Derby -- Done Talking -- after training for more than 30 years.
Race 6: Chick Lang Stakes
Il Villano surrendered his lead but overcame even-money favorite Innocent Man at the top of the stretch in the six-furlong, $100,000 Chick Lang Stakes. He beat runner-up Laurie's Rocket by more than four lengths.
"I saw that they were going pretty fast, and he sat exactly where I wanted him to," Il Villano's trainer, Susan Crowell, said. "He made his one run on the turn for home, and we were very impressed the way he ran today."
It was Innocent Man's first time in a stakes race. Trainer Patrick Biancone was pleased with the overall effort, considering his horse, while the favorite, was the most inexperienced of the group.
"He stumbled at the start, but they need to learn," he said. "I'm very happy with him."