Anne M. Eberhardt

Preakness Highlights Pimlico Spring Stand

Middle jewel of Triple Crown part of weekend that has 17 stakes worth $3.4 million.

Live racing in Maryland will shift to historic Pimlico Race Course Thursday, April 4 for a 36-day spring stand, headlined by the $1 million Preakness Stakes (gr. I).

The 138th running of the middle jewel of the Triple Crown is May 18.

Live racing takes place four days a week on a Thursday through Sunday schedule prior to Preakness and then Friday, Saturday and Sunday (plus Memorial Day). There will be free admission and a complimentary live program on opening day. First post is 1:10 p.m. The meet will end June 8, Belmont Stakes day.

"The Preakness is 50 days away, so we are getting excited," said Tom Chuckas, Maryland Jockey Club president. "We feel it is vital to continue live racing all the way through the Triple Crown to prolong the momentum built during Preakness.

"There is a special feeling about Pimlico because of the third Saturday in May but the entire meet is important to us," he added. "We continue to upgrade the promotions to enhance the experience. In addition, purses on overnight races during the meet will be raised 10-15% across the board, which should lead to larger fields and more wagering."

The marquee meet of the Maryland racing season features 26 stakes races for purses of more than $4 million. Preakness weekend will include 17 stakes races for $3.4 million.

Preakness day will have nine added money races, including five graded events. In addition to the Preakness, the card will feature the $300,000 Dixie Handicap (gr. IIT) and three grade III races.

The Preakness eve card features eight stakes races, headlined by the $500,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (gr. II) and the $300,000 Pimlico Special (gr. III).