How The Preakness Became The Preakness

By US Racing Team

When Milton Sanford bought a yearling sired by eventual Hall of Famer Lexington and out of Bay Leaf, by The Promised Land from A. J. Alexander, he named the colt Preakness. Preakness was the eighth foal out of British-bred Bay Leaf and cost Sanford $2,000. And it was Preakness who debuted as a 3-year-old in the Dinner Party Stakes at Pimlico’s inaugural meet in 1870.

In his triumph, Preakness was ridden by English jockey Billy Hayward, who supplied the name for one of Pimlico’s present adjoining streets. Though it was the colt’s only start in 1870, it left a lasting impression at Pimlico and horse racing history overall. Three years later, the Maryland Jockey Club honored him by calling its newest stakes race “Preakness.”

Preakness continued to race through his 8-year-old season in America and won the Baltimore Cup carrying 131 pounds also finished in a dead-heat with Springbok in the 1875 Saratoga Cup at 2 1/4 miles. Later that year, Sanford sent Preakness to England and the horse became one of the first American horses to be given genuine recognition by the British. The Duke of Hamilton purchased Preakness from Sanford for breeding, but as Preakness grew older, he developed a temper and was reported to be tough to handle. Apparently, the Duke of Hamilton’s disposition was not smooth either and one day in a fit of rage, he shot and killed Preakness, touching off a reform in English laws which governed the handling of animals.

The Dinner Party Stakes at Pimlico eventually became the race known as the Dixie Stakes.

2023 Preakness Stakes Post Positions and Odds

PP Horse Odds Jockey Trainer
1 National Treasure 4-1 John Velazquez Steven M. Asmussen
2 Chase The Chaos 50-1 Sheldon Russell Ed Moger Jr.
3 Mage 8-5 Javier Castellano Gustavo Delgado
4 Coffeewithchris 20-1 Jaime Rodriguez John E. Salzman Jr.
5 Red Route One 10-1 Joel Rosario Steven M. Asmussen
6 Perform 15-1 Feargal Lynch Claude R. McGaughey III
7 Blazing Sevens 6-1 Irad Ortiz Jr. Chad C. Brown
8 First Mission 5-2 Luis Saez Brad H. Cox
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