The Preakness Stakes is one of the biggest horse races of the year, and is known as the Second Jewel of the Triple Crown. It offers a $1.5 million purse with $900,000 going to the winner. The race is held annually in Baltimore, Maryland and the historic Pimlico Race Track two weeks following the Kentucky Derby. 

Entry in to the Preakness Stakes is limited to 14 horses and is based upon earnings in previous races. This differs from the Kentucky Derby which requires eligibility based on points earned in specific prep races.

The Derby Trail and Illinois Derby are two Preakness Stakes prep races that are held in April but don’t offer points for the Kentucky Derby. For more information on the official Road to the Kentucky Derby race schedule, click [here]. 

The most obvious Preakness Stakes prep race is the Kentucky Derby which is held just two weeks prior. However, it should be noted that many horses do not run in both races. The majority of the time, horses will run in the Kentucky Derby or the Preakness and then the Belmont due to the tight race schedule. In 2014, only three Kentucky Derby entrants participated in the Preakness Stakes. One of those was California Chrome, who won both races.

Ride on Curlin also ran both races in 2014, finishing 7th and then 2nd. General A Rod finished a disappointing 11th at the derby before placing 4th at the Preakness. 

Depending on the career of a horse, many trainers and owners opt not to participate in the Kentucky Derby and instead target the Preakness Stakes and its lofty $900,000 prize for first place. Some of these horses will avoid the Kentucky Derby prep races, instead running at events held at Pimlico. The premier ungraded event in this regard is Federico Tesio Stakes. 

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