Live racing in Maryland shifts to Pimlico Race Course Friday, April 1, for the spring meeting. The headline event of the eight-week stand is the 136th running of the $1 million Preakness Stakes (gr. I) May 21. The marquee meet of the Maryland racing season, which ends with the Preakness Day card, will feature 22 stakes for purses of $2.9 million. Preakness weekend features16 stakes for nearly $2.5 million.
“There is something unique about being at Pimlico during the spring,” said Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas. “With the Preakness about 50 days away, the entire staff gets energized. We are looking forward to a tremendous meet, highlighted by a spectacular Preakness week.”
Preakness day will have nine added money races, including six graded events. In addition to the Preakness, the card will feature the grade II Dixie Handicap and four grade III races. 2011 Preakness InfieldFEST will include performances by recent Grammy Award winners Bruno Mars and Train. Both bands will play extended sets on the main stage in the public infield.
In addition to the main stage headliners, the day-long multi-celebration festival experience will feature live music on the Jägermeister stage, entertainment, and a variety of Maryland-branded food and beverage concessions. Tickets will be $40 in advance through Ticketmaster and the Preakness ticket sales office and $50 during Preakness week. Two 160-foot MUG Club areas will be available in the infield and another in the Top of the Stretch section. For an additional $20 to a regular admission to the public Infield or a Top of the Stretch ticket, fans receive a souvenir mug with unlimited refills of beer. The popular beer garden returns with $2 draft beer served from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Premium seating is available in the Preakness Village, Clubhouse Turn Suites, and Turfside Terrace locations. Visit www.preakness.com for more details.
The Preakness eve card features seven stakes races, six for fillies and mares, headlined by the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (gr. II). Pimlico has partnered with Susan G. Komen for the Cure for the return of The People’s Pink Party. Highlights include the second annual Lady Legends For the Cure Race, the inaugural Female Jockey Challenge, and the welcoming of 87 breast cancer survivor guests for festivities including a special winner’s circle tribute and live performances in the Turfside Terrace by music stars Steel Magnolia, courtesy of Big Machine, and The Lunabelles.
The meet will feature several new wagers. Pimlico has added a second Pick 4 and scrapped the Pick 6 in favor of a Pick 5 (races 5-9), with a reduced takeout of 18%. Wagering will also include 10 cent superfectas and 50 cent Pick 3’s, Pick 4’s, and Pick 5’s.
“The goal is to make it affordable and create opportunities for the fans,” added Chuckas. “The 10 cent supers and 50 cent Pick 3, Pick 4, and Pick 5’s do just that.”