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Race Dates
5/11 - 5/29



  The Preakness is Safe For Now !     

Pimlico Race TrackHome of the Preakness

Pimlico Race Course is part of the Stronach Group and is located in the suburbs of Baltimore. It has a one mile dirt oval with a seven furlong inner turf course. It has a winterized, glass enclosed grandstand, and clubhouse, the clubhouse seats 2,780 while the grandstand seats 9,915. There is also an open air grandstand area that can seat an additional 7,342 people. On Preakness Day an additional 60,000 fans can fit in the  infield. The stable area can accommodate 950 horses. There is parking for 4,400 cars in neighborhood parking lots.   

In existence since 1870 Pimlico Race Course is the second oldest racetrack in the country. Along with Churchill Downs, Pimlico escaped the moral purge of 1910 by implementing pari-mutual wagering in 1913. It is also home to the Preakness Stakes which is the second jewel in the triple crown. The track is nicknamed "old Hilltop" for a rise in the infield where owners and trainers would gather to watch their charges. If you go to Pimlico today don't expect to find it, it was leveled in 1938 when it interfered with new fangled television cameras.

Pimlico Race TrackBus it to the Preakness

 Pimlico Race Course now under the Magna brand has appeared to have seen better days. Enough so that the whispers are saying the Preakness could find a new home. Fielding only a 31 purse value index it may have trouble being surrounded by Racino Racing States. Being the second oldest flat track in the United States and along with Churchill Downs one of the few tracks that kept racing alive during the moral purge of the nineteen hundreds it would be a shame to see it disappear.

Racino status for Pimlico is unclear but one Harness Track in Maryland has been granted and been upgraded to that level.

 In 2011 Pimlico ran only 29 days from April 1 to Preakness day May 21. Shackelford was the Preakness winner and Russell Sheldon took the riding title. After much political wrangling an eleventh hour deal salvaged the 2012 season.

In 2012 Pimlico again ran 29 days of live racing ending on Preakness Day. The big race was won by I'll Have Another, who also captured the Kentucky Derby, unfortunately he was scratched the day before the Belmont Stakes, ending his triple crown bid. In the riding title race, Abel Castellano was a runaway winner. Most important of all in 2012 was an agreement among Maryland's horse racing groups to continue racing for ten years, keeping the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico for the foreseeable future. Another noteworthy news item was the Maryland's Racing Commissions decision to adjust Secretariat's 1973 Preakness time giving him the track record for the mile and three sixteenth distance.  

I made several trips to Pimlico in the mid sixties, by the time the Laurel and Bowie meets were over my routine was set. I traded culture at the Smithsonian, for a booth at Lucky's bar, where I could get breakfast with beer and spread out my racing form and pick my winners. My memories at Pimlico include a transplanted New England horse named Mr. Hatfield. He was a roan and always was the favorite in one of the daily double races. He never ran off the board, but usually get caught at the wire. One race that I recall was on March 1, 1967, it was an allowance race for $5000. The favorite was getting a lot of attention and was bet down to 3-5, at the wire he got up by a head, after being bumped and jumping a couple of puddles in the stretch, with Nick Shuk in the irons. His name was Damascus, he returned about a month and a half with regular rider Bill Shoemaker to win the Preakness, then won the Belmont after running third in the Kentucky Derby.

Damascus, was not named for the capitol of Syria, but rather a small Maryland Town in the vicinity of Pimlico Race Course.