Attendance at the Preakness Stakes will be missed this year

By Miriam Lee

Cloud Computing storms past Classic Empire late to win the Preakness Stakes (photo via Jim McCue, Marlyland Jockey Club).

Attendance at the Preakness Stakes usually ranks second in North America behind the Kentucky Derby and usually surpasses the attendance of all other stakes races, including the Belmont Stakes, the Breeders’ Cup Saturday program and Kentucky Oaks Day. Unfortunately this year there will be no attendance at all due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The most attended Preakness was in 2017 when Cloud Computing emerged victorious in front of 140,237. In 2015 when American Pharoah won the second leg of his Triple Crown, 131,680 were present and when Justify accomplished the feat in 2018, 134,497 were there to witness history.

The most money ever bet on the Preakness Stakes itself was the $63,230,573 handled in 2005. The 144th running of the Preakness a year ago set an all-time all-sources total handle record for the entire day of $99,852,653.

In 144 races (the Preakness was run in two divisions in 1918), a total of 73 winners have left the post as the favorite. Since 1911, when parimutuel wagering began at Pimlico, 28 Preakness favorites have started at odds of less than even money with eighteen winning and, 10 returning .50 to 1.00 or less — Citation, 1948 (¢.10-1.), Spectacular Bid, 1979 (¢.10-1), Count Fleet, 1943 (¢.15-1), Big Brown, 2008 (¢.20-1), Native Dancer, 1953 (¢.20-1), Secretariat, 1973 (¢.30-1), Nashua, 1955 (¢.30-1), War Admiral, 1937 (¢.35-1), Seattle Slew, 1977 (¢.40-1), Justify, 2018 (¢.40-1), Affirmed, 1978 (¢.50-1) and California Chrome, 2014 (¢.50-1).

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