2021 Preakness Stakes by the Numbers

Racing
Cloud Computing (inside) defeated Classic Empire by a head in a thrilling 2017 edition of the Preakness Stakes. (Penelope P. Miller/America's Best Racing)

This year the Preakness Stakes returns to its traditional place on the racing calendar, two weeks after the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve and three weeks before the Belmont Stakes as the coveted middle jewel of the Triple Crown.

The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 forced the postponement of the Preakness until October as the race was the third of the classics to be contested a year ago after the Belmont Stakes in June and the Kentucky Derby in September.

The historic race will be run this year on May 15 at Pimlico in Baltimore, and you can get ready for the race with some fun stats and facts below.

0 – The number of times the Preakness has been held on a Sunday. The race has been held at least four times on every other day of the week since its inception in 1873. The Preakness has been held on a Saturday every year since 1931; Tuesday ranks second with 14 editions of the Preakness conducted on that day of the week.

1 3/16 miles – The distance of the Preakness since 1925. It’s a sixteenth of a mile shorter than the Kentucky Derby.

1:53 Secretariat’s winning time in the 1973 edition of the Preakness, a stakes record. The race was originally timed in 1:54 2/5, but that error was corrected in 2012, giving “Big Red” the stakes record for all three Triple Crown races.

2 – The number of people who have both ridden and trained a Preakness winner. Louis J. Schaefer won the 1929 edition as a jockey aboard Dr. Freeland and later trained Challedon to victory in 1939. Johnny Longden duplicated the feat by winning the 1943 Preakness on Count Fleet before training 1969 winner Majestic Prince.

6 – The number of fillies (females) who have won the Preakness: Flocarline, 1903; Whimsical, 1906; Rhine Maiden, 1915; Nellie Morse, 1924; and then an 85-year gap before eventual Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra won in 2009. Swiss Skydiver became the sixth in 2020 when she outfinished Kentucky Derby winner Authentic to win an unforgettable Preakness.

7 – The number of Preakness wins by trainer Bob Baffert: Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998), Point Given (2001), War Emblem (2002), Lookin At Lucky (2010), American Pharoah (2015), and Justify (2018). Baffert, who won his record seventh Kentucky Derby on May 1 and is pointing Derby winner Medina Spirit to the Preakness, is tied for most Preakness wins with 1970 Hall of Fame inductee R. Wyndham Walden. Based in Maryland at his own Bowling Brook Farm, Walden’s winners were Tom Olchitree, 1875; Duke of Magenta, 1878; Harold, 1879; Grenada, 1880; Saunterer, 1881; Vanguard, 1882; and Refund, 1888.

8 – The number of times a 3-year-old bred in Maryland has won Maryland’s signature race: Cloverbrook (1877), Dunboyne (1887), Refund (1888), Sly Fox (1898), Challedon (1939), Kauai King (1966), Bee Bee Bee (1972), and Deputed Testamony (1983).

10 – The number of Preakness winners who were sired (fathered) by a Preakness winner, including 2016 winner Exaggerator, by 2007 winner Curlin.

11 – The number of times in its illustrious history that the Preakness Stakes was run prior to the Kentucky Derby, and twice, in 1917 and 1922, both races were on the same day. 

11 ½ lengthsSmarty Jones’ winning margin in the 2004 Preakness, a stakes record.

12 – The number of instances in which the Belmont Stakes has been held before the Preakness, most recently in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic when the Belmont Stakes was held in June with the Kentucky Derby in September and the Preakness in October. Prior to last year, the standard order of the Derby followed two weeks later by the Preakness followed three weeks later by the Belmont Stakes had been in place since 1969.

15 – The number of Preakness winners whose name began with the letter ‘S’. These include the very first winner, Survivor (1873), Triple Crown winners Sir Barton (1919), Secretariat (1973), and Seattle Slew (1977), and Smarty Jones (2004) who holds the record for the greatest winning margin of 11 ½ lengths. Another famous ‘S,’ Sunday Silence, is the most recent Preakness winner to prevail by the slimmest of recorded margins, a nose. He defeated Easy Goer in their classic 1989 rivalry by a nose. Swiss Skydiver in 2020 is the most recent winner whose name began with the letter ‘S’.

16 – The number of times a horse breaking from post position No. 6 has won the Preakness. Oxbow was the last to do so, in 2013.

18 – The race has been decided by a head or less on 18 occasions, the last such occurrence when Cloud Computing defeated Classic Empire by a head in 2017.

22 – The number of Preakness winners named Horse of the Year, racing’s highest year-end honor, the same year. Triple Crown winner Justify (2018) is the most recent such horse.

36 – Total number of horses who won the Preakness after a Kentucky Derby victory. Just 13 of them went on to win the Belmont Stakes and sweep the Triple Crown.

$48.80 – The biggest win payout ever in the race, coming when 23-1 Master Derby won in 1975.

101 – The number of Preakness winners who were bred in Kentucky, including the last six since California-bred California Chrome won the race in 2014.

146 – This year is the 146th running of the race. As mentioned previously, it was first contested in 1873 but wasn’t run from 1891 through 1893.

$2,050 – Purse of the first Preakness in 1873.

$1 million – Total purse for the race in 2021. The winner gets 60% of that.

$99,852,653 – Dollars bet on Preakness day in 2019, the highest all-sources handle ever for the Preakness card.

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