As one of the most highly anticipated races of the season, the Preakness Stakes is the second leg of the Triple Crown. Held annually at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Missouri, the Preakness is known for its exciting neck-and-neck finishes. The race has been decided by a head or less on 18 occasions. Although every victor to have donned the blanket of Black-Eyed-Susans are champions, there are a few performances that have stood the test of time and remain some of the most memorable races in history. The following are the top five more memorable Preakness Stakes winners.
- Secretariat, 1973
Secretariat was one of the greatest horses that ever lived, and set historic records in each of the Triple Crown races. During the 1973 Preakness, Secretariat was holding at a steady pace, inching toward the final stretch. His rider, Ron Turcotte, let him go on a fast-paced dash for the finish. Secretariat effortlessly finished, over two lengths ahead, leading to a historic victory. Called “the fastest horse on dirt,” he is probably the most popular racehorse ever.
- Afleet Alex, 2005
Afleet Alex is not considered one of the greatest horses to ever win the Preakness but he had a memorable win at the Preakness of 2005. Afleet Alex was positioned in the middle of the track, at the top of the stretch, just beginning his surge toward the finish line. The Thoroughbred, Scrappy T, suddenly veered in front of him, and they clipped heels. Afleet Alex tripped severely, almost went down to his knees, and his nose nearly hit the dirt. His rider barely managed to stay on, however, they both recovered and Afleet Alex was victorious. In fact, the horse finished the Preakness in 1:55, the fastest time in eight years.
- Affirmed, 1978
Affirmed was part of, what is considered by many to be, the greatest rivalry in racing history. Affirmed and Alydar, his rival, raced against each other ten times as two and three year olds. During races, the two were consistently head-to-head. Alydar was the slight favorite for the Kentucky Derby. Affirmed, more known for his speed, didn’t immediately take the lead until the final stretch. Alydar, coming from behind at ninth place, came in second, just one and a half lengths behind Affirmed. For the Preakness, Affirmed was the favorite. Affirmed took the lead from the beginning, but at the half-mark, Adler picked up speed and went from sixth place to finish second, just a neck short of victory. The two rivals made history. Affirmed, by winning the Triple Crown, and Alydar, who placed directly behind him in each of the three races.
- Rachel Alexandra, 2009
When Rachel Alexandra outran the Kentucky Derby winner, Mine That Bird, she became the fifth filly ever to win the Preakness, and the first one since 1924. The Preakness was not her only success, however, as she consistently broke track records, margin records, and multiple stakes records, during her career. In 2009, Rachel Alexandra was named Horse of the Year.
- Sunday Silence, 1989
The 1989 Preakness is considered one of the most exciting races in its history. Competing were two rivals, Sunday Silence, and Easy Goer. Easy Goer was considered the favorite for the Preakness, even though Sunday Silence won the Kentucky Derby. During the Preakness, Easy Goer led the entire field all the way down to the final stretch, and then lost by a nose. In his entire career, Sunday Silence never finished a race less than second.
The 144th running of the Preakness promises champion horses and intense rivalries. Don’t miss the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown! Join Roadtrips at Old Hilltop for this year’s exciting race. Contact us today to find out how to customize your 2019 Preakness Stakes travel package.