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Washouts are few, but memorable, in Preakness history

In most years, the Preakness Stakes is run on a fast track, sometimes even despite rain. But there have been a few memorable washouts.

In 1983, Deputed Testamony put Harford County's Bonita Farm on the map with a win in "sloppy" conditions. Until last year, that was the most recent time track conditions had been rated as poor.

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"In the mist and rain that continued yesterday in the wake of Deputed Testamony's Preakness victory, if the Pimlico infield looked like a soggy mess with a giant hangover, the sun was shining on the rest of the Maryland racing industry," Sun columnist Bob Maisel wrote at the time.

Deputy Testamony and Donnie Miller Jr. are led to the winner's circle after winnin the Preakness on May 21, 1983.
Deputy Testamony and Donnie Miller Jr. are led to the winner's circle after winnin the Preakness on May 21, 1983. (UPI Photo / UPI)

Nearly an inch of rain fell in Baltimore that day, after almost half an inch the day before, according to National Weather Service data.

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In 1972, misty conditions followed a heavy overnight rain. Eldon Nelson, a 45-year-old veteran jockey, rode Bee Bee Bee to victory. More than half an inch of rain fell throughout the day that Saturday, on top of three-quarters of an inch that fell the day before.

"Slop slop slop didn't stop Bee Bee Bee," read a Sun headline to a story looking back at that race two decades later.

Here's what to expect if you are heading to the 141st Preakness Stakes, or were otherwise hoping to spend some time outside this weekend:

Horses ran fetlock-deep in mud at the 1938 Preakness -- the fetlock is the joint that protrudes behind and above a horse's hoof -- according to Sun coverage. Nearly an inch of rain fell that day.

But the 1924 Preakness may have been the wettest of all, based on Sun scribe Raymond S. Tompkins' description. The day before filly Nellie Morse won, 1.28 inches of rain fell, and a third of an inch fell on the day of the stakes.

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"Never before has the Preakness been run in six inches of thick waffle batter," Tompkins wrote. "It was as much a regatta as a horse race. It was simply a case of the skipjack, Nellie Morse, beating a lot of bugeyes that didn't carry enough sail."

How will the 2016 edition stack up? By post time, about three-quarters of an inch of rainfall is expected to drench Pimlico.

Baltimore Sun librarian Paul McCardell contributed to this article.



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