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What to Know About the 2024 Preakness Stakes, the Second Leg of Horse Racing’s Triple Crown

You can't win the Triple Crown if you don't win the Preakness Stakes.

By Adam Pockross

The recent Kentucky Derby, the 150th Run for the Roses, certainly lived up to the hype, with 18-1 shot Mystik Dan winning a three-horse photo finish by a nose against hard charging Sierra Leone and Forever Young. But with the 2024 Preakness Stakes, “the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown,” coming up fast (full coverage begins at 1:30 p.m. ET on May 18), the heart thumping horse racing action is just getting started.

RELATED: Mystik Dan wins 150th Kentucky Derby in photo finish

Though Mystik Dan isn’t 100% committed at this point, the "Run for the Black-Eyed Susans" represents the horse’s chance to win the second leg of the sport’s most elusive honor: the Triple Crown, awarded to the rare three-year-old Thoroughbred who can win the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes in a single season. For every other horse in the field, it's a chance to prevent that from happening, while winning the lion’s share of the record $2 million purse (up from 2023's $1.5 million purse).

What Is the Preakness Stakes?

As has become the Armed Forces Day tradition, on the third Saturday in May – two weeks after the Kentucky Derby and three weeks before the Belmont Stakes – the Preakness Stakes will run along 1+3⁄16 miles (9.5 furlongs) of hallowed dirt at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, with all comers hoping to beat the course record of 1:53.0, which was set in 1973 by historic Triple Crown winner, Secretariat.  

RELATED: The 2024 Kentucky Derby: What to Know About the 150th Run For the Roses

While the Kentucky Derby holds the record for America’s oldest continuously held major sporting event (along with its sibling race the Kentucky Oaks), the Preakness was actually held first (it’s taken some hiatuses since its inception). Dating all the way back to its first running in 1873, the Preakness Stakes is set to run its 149th race on May 18. That’s a lot of grandeur!

Why Is It Called the Preakness?

Unlike Kentucky and Belmont, Preakness has nothing to do with location. The race’s name actually comes from Maryland governor Oden Bowie, who named the inaugural race for the colt, Preakness, who won the Dinner Party Stakes on October 25, 1870, the day that Pimlico opened.

What Happened at the 2023 Preakness Stakes?

The field crosses the finish line during a turf race ahead of the 148th Running of the Preakness Stakes

If last year’s running of the 148th Preakness Stakes is any indication, we can expect plenty more excitement during next weekend’s race.

The 2023 Preakness found Kentucky Derby winner and 8-5 favorite Mage hoping to keep its Triple Crown aspirations alive and well. Alas, jockey John Velasquez took trainer Bob Baffert’s 4-1 shot, National Treasure, on one heck of a ride around Pimlico Race Course to win by 2 1/4 lengths over Blazing Sevens (6-1) and Mage.

How to Watch the 2024 Preakness Stakes

The actual post time for the 149th running of the Preakness Stakes starts at approximately 6:50 p.m. ET on Saturday May 18, but live coverage of the Preakness Stakes Prep Races from the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland starts at 1:30 p.m. ET on CNBC, Peacock, NBCSports.com, and the NBC Sports app. Then head over to NBC, NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports app, or Peacock for the big race, with coverage starting at 4:30 p.m ET. 

What is a Triple Crown?

A Triple Crown is incredibly rare, and is awarded to the rare three-year-old Thoroughbred who can win the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes in a single season.

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