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The Kentucky Derby Fan's Guide to the Preakness Stakes

Nyquist, Preakness -

The Kentucky Derby Fan's Guide to the Preakness Stakes

With Kentucky Derby Winner Nyquist and Derby second-place finisher Exaggerator ranking as many oddsmakers' favorites in this weekend's Preakness Stakes, horse racing fans' attention has turned to Maryland's Pimlico Park. Here's the HerKentucky Guide to the Preakness Stakes, which will tell you everything you need to know about this weekend's race festivities!

Black-Eyed Susan Day

The day before the Preakness, Pimlico celebrates Black-Eyed Susan Day with a G2 race for 3 year-old fillies. Known as the Pimlico Oaks until 1952 when it was renamed to honor the Maryland state flower, the Black Eyed Susan Stakes serves as the second leg of the filly Triple Crown. Like the Kentucky Oaks, the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes has a charitable focus, benefitting the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and Susan G. Komen® Maryland.

Preakness Traditions

This weekend marks the 141st running of the Preakness Stakes. Race day will start off with the annual Alibi Breakfast for trainers, jockeys, owners, and media. The crowd will sing along with Maryland's state song, Maryland, My Maryland, and sip Black-Eyed Susan cocktails. The winning owner will be given a sterling silver replica of the Woodlawn vase (The original trophy, an 1893 creation by Tiffany & Co, remains on permanent display) and the winning horse will be draped in a blanket of Black-Eyed Susans.

Preakness Fashion

While the focus on Kentucky Derby Day is high fashion, the Preakness is all about fun. I asked Bri Mott, the founder of raceday style website Fashion at the Races (and the most fashionable horse lover I know!) to describe the difference in Derby and Preakness style. Her tips? "Dressing for the Preakness Stakes is very different than the Southern Belle style of the Kentucky Derby. Preakness is known for its 'party' factor with all the crazy stories of the infield. You want to bring the party into your fashion. Bold colors and flashy prints. Less brimmed hats and more fun fascinators. It's all about the fun and you show that in your raceday style!"

Preakness Spirits

Like the Derby's famous mint julep, the Preakness has its own signature cocktail, the Black-Eyed Susan. You can find the official recipe here, but I modified mine with homemade sour mix, and Indian River Valencia orange juice. This is a sweet and sassy citrus-based cocktail that packs quite the punch!

Black-Eyed Susan Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz vodka
  • 1 oz Maker's Mark bourbon whisky
  • 2 oz orange juice
  • 2 oz sour mix (recipe below)
  • orange slice and cherry for garnish
  • Combine all ingredients and serve over ice.


Homemade Sour mix

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup lemon juice, strained
  • 0.5 cup lime juice, strained

Make simple syrup by bringing sugar and water to a boil. Stir to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and let cool. Add citrus juices. Shake and use immediately or refrigerate.

Happy Preakness weekend, y'all!


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