BALTIMORE,MD 04-14-10---Live racing in Maryland shifts to historic Pimlico Race Course Saturday, April 17 for the spring meeting. The headline event of the six-week stand is the 135th running of the $1 million Preakness® Stakes (Grade I), the middle jewel of the Triple Crown, on May 15. The marquee meet of the Maryland racing season will feature 18 stakes races for purses of $2,435,000. Preakness weekend features 15 stakes races for more than $2.2 million.
The Friday, May 14 card features seven stakes races, six for fillies and mares. Pimlico has partnered with Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, the world’s largest breast cancer organization, to raise funds to aid awareness and research on Friday’s Black-Eyed Susan Day. In addition to the 86th running of the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, the day will feature an historic pari-mutuel race showcasing legendary retired female riders as well as the second annual $50,000 Pimlico Jockey Challenge, where eight of the na¬tion’s top jockeys compete in four races with points award¬ed based upon their finish.
Preakness day will have eight added money races, including six graded events. In addition to the Preakness, the card will feature the Dixie Handicap (Grade II) and five Grade III races. 2010 Preakness InfieldFEST, presented by Budweiser Select, will include performances by Grammy Award winner Zac Brown Band and Platinum selling musical group O.A.R. Both bands will play extended sets on the main stage in the public Infield on Saturday, May 15. In addition to the main stage headliners, the day-long multi-celebration festival experience will feature live music, entertainment and a variety of Maryland-branded food and beverage concessions. Tickets for public Infield admission have been reduced $10. Tickets will be $40 in advance through Ticketmaster and the Preakness Ticket Sales Office and $50 on Preakness day. Premium seating is available in the Preakness Village, Clubhouse Turn Suites and Turfside Terrace locations. Visit http://www.preakness.com/ for more details. Preakness Day is the largest single day sporting event in the state of Maryland with attendance figures topping six-figures in eight of the last nine years, including a record 121,263 in 2007.
“There is something special about Pimlico,” said Tom Chuckas, Maryland Jockey Club president and chief operating officer. “With its storied tradition and the excitement of the Preakness just weeks away the entire staff gets an extra boost of energy with the move from Laurel Park to Pimlico for the spring. We are eager to begin the meet Saturday and energized for what promises to be an exceptional Preakness weekend.”
Opening day at Old Hilltop will feature a pre-race ceremony honoring former Pimlico general manager Chick Lang, who passed away last month, the $70,000 Henry Clark Stakes and a “halftime” concert in-between the fifth and sixth races featuring country music star Steve Azar. Other opening day attractions include concession specials, a BBQ on the Apron and a chance to win Preakness tickets and Southwest Airlines vouchers.
The meet will also feature a new wager-The All Turf Pick 3. Bettors must pick the first place finishers of the last three races at Pimlico each day with all three scheduled for the grass. The wager will not take place May 14 or 15.
The 20-day stand will conclude Saturday, May 22, racing on a Thursday through Sunday schedule. First post for 17 days of the meeting will be 1:10 p.m. with adjustments on Preakness (10:45 a.m.), Black-Eyed Susan (12:15 p.m.) and Kentucky Derby (12:45 p.m.) days.