Preparations for the 141st Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore have begun. The Preakness will be held on May 21, 2016 and is limited to 14 horses. Last year just eight horses ran in the 1 1/8 mile Preakness and American Pharoah blew them away in the slop in the second leg of his Triple Crown achievement. Eligibility for the Preakness is determined by earnings in previous races. That opens the door for horses who didn’t perform well enough in prep races to qualify for the Kentucky Derby, and other late bloomers who ran out of time to qualify.
The second jewel of the American Triple Crown, the Preakness attracts the Kentucky Derby winner along with other Derby participants. But with a two-week turnaround between the Triple Crown races, many Derby trainers elect to forego the Preakness citing a strain on their horses and a desire for more time between starts.
So while many horse racing fans focus on the lead up to the Kentucky Derby, there are plenty of promising horses to consider and watch for in the months leading up to the Preakness Stakes. Some potential value and under the radar horses who don’t compete in the Kentucky Derby can be found running in the Derby Trial and Illinois Derby in April.
Nearly half of the past 75 Preakness winners have spent the opening months of their three-year old campaigns racing in Florida. So watch for non-Derby qualifiers who run in the Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park January 30, and the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream on February 27.
The month of April will have some key races to watch leading up to the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, so follow the ponies and their preparations and results at these stakes races below.
Florida Derby April 2 Gulfstream Park – Hallandale Beach, FL
Wood Memorial April 9 Aqueduct Racetrack – New York City, NY
Blue Grass April 9 Keeneland – Lexington, KY
Santa Anita Derby April 9 Santa Anita Park – Arcadia, CA
Arkansas Derby April 16 Oaklawn Park – Hot Springs, AR
Lexington April 16 Keeneland – Lexington, KY