Why The Preakness Stakes?

preakness 2016 logo

Tomorrow is the 141st running of The Preakness Stakes, also known as the second Jewel of the Triple Crown and “The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans”. This year, the undefeated Nyquist, the winner of the first jewel, The Kentucky Derby will try to get collect the second jewel in his bid for the Triple Crown! The Preakness is run on the third Saturday in May, 2 weeks after the Kentucky Derby and 3 weeks before the Belmont Stakes. I knew most of these facts but when I started thinking about the race coming up this Saturday, I realized I really didn’t know any of the history behind this big race!

Why The Preakness?

In 1873, The Preakness was run for the first time, 2 years before the first Kentucky Derby. It was named by the then Governor of Maryland – in honor of a colt from New Jersey who won the Dinner Party Stakes on Pimlico’s inaugural opening day on October 25th in 1870! The name was said to have come from the Native American name Pra-qua-les (“Quail Woods“) for the area where he was raised.

Why the Second Jewel of the Triple Crown?

The Triple Crown is a series of three races, consisting of the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes, in that order! I have been unable to easily find why this series was started but the Preakness is the second race in the series that began in 1932. I will try to ferret this tidbit of history for the next blog on the Belmont!

Why The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans?

The winner of the Preakness is draped in a blanket of “Black-Eyed Susans”, The Maryland State flower. The Black-Eyed Susan doesn’t flower till late June so today,  yellow daisies with the centers dyed black are used! Pretty creative!

preakness trophy

The Trophy awarded for the winner of this prestigious race was created by Tiffany and Co.. In 1983 it was valued at One Million Dollars and today is insured for a replacement cost of Four Million Dollars! It is called the Woodlawn Vase and was first awarded in 1861 to a stakes winning mare named Molly Jackson in Louisville, Kentucky. In 1917, the Woodlawn Vase became the official trophy for the winner of second jewel of the Triple Crown and was awarded to the winner of that years Preakness, Kalitan.

black eyed susan





The official Preakness drink developed in 1973, is also called the Black-Eyed Susan. These days it is served over ice in the official Preakness Stakes Glasses, we still have this year’s available! This yummy beverage includes orange & pineapple juice with Vodka, Rum and Orange Liqueur!It’s lovely yellow orange color is reminiscent of the colorful flowers! Here’s an quick and easy recipe!



So we hope you’ve enjoyed some of these little bits of Preakness Stakes trivia and all of us here at Impressions wish Nyquist and his team a good, safe a winning run!



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