Looking Back: Preakness Stakes Winners in Horse Country

Looking Back: Preakness Stakes Winners in Horse Country

The G1 Preakness Stakes, held each year at Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore, Maryland, is the famed middle jewel of the Triple Crown. The race takes place two weeks after the Kentucky Derby, on the third Saturday in May.

The Preakness Stakes is the second oldest of the Triple Crown races, and was first held in 1873. The race is named for the colt who won the first Dinner Party Stakes at Pimlico, the day the racecourse opened in 1870. The flower blanket for the winning horse pays homage to the Black Eyed Susan, the state flower of Maryland, but due to the fact that the race takes place two months before the flowers come into bloom, viking poms that bear a resemblance to Black Eyed Susans, are used instead. 

The winning connections receive a replica of the Woodlawn Vase, which is the most expensive trophy in all of sports, worth approximately $4 million. Made of solid sterling silver, the trophy has a rich history that includes being buried for safekeeping so it was not melted to be used for bullets during the Civil War. The original Vase is used for the winner’s circle presentation before returning to its home at the Baltimore Museum of Art. 

Today, the Preakness Stakes is run at 1 3/16 miles for a purse of $1.5 million, and 8 of the top three year old colts are set to contest the 2023 edition. Before we dive in to this year’s field, let’s look back at the victories of the Preakness Stakes winners who now call Horse Country home. 

2022 Preakness Stakes – Early Voting 

While the Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike was absent from the field, the 2022 Preakness Stakes was still an intriguing field with the Derby runner-up Epicenter and Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Oath. At the wire it was Early Voting, the son of Gun Runner, to win by 1 ¼ lengths over Epicenter. Both colts now stand at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud in Versailles, Kentucky.

2018 Preakness Stakes – Justify 

Just a few years off of the Triple Crown triumph of American Pharoah, the undefeated Justify followed in the hoofprints of his future stablemate in becoming the 13th Triple Crown winner. Owned by Horse Country member WinStar Farm in partnership with China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partners LLC and Starlight Racing, Justify strode to a half-length victory under jockey Mike Smith. 

Justify now stands stud at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud in Versailles, Kentucky. Learn more and book a tour of Coolmore at Ashford Stud here.

2017 Preakness Stakes – Cloud Computing 

The 2017 edition of the Preakness Stakes did not result in a Triple Crown hope, but instead a thrilling stretch duel in the final furlong of the race. After sitting on the lead alongside Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming for a majority of the race, Classic Empire drew away in the stretch, only to be run down by Cloud Computing, who took the victory by a head in the final strides.

Cloud Computing now stands stud at Spendthrift Farm in Lexington, Kentucky. Learn more and book a tour at Spendthrift Farm here.

2015 Preakness Stakes – American Pharoah

American Pharoah entered the Preakness Stakes off of an impressive victory in the Kentucky Derby two weeks earlier, and just like all Kentucky Derby winners who contest the Preakness, he carried the hopes of a Triple Crown victory. A seven length victory in the Preakness Stakes set up American Pharoah for a much-awaited run in the Belmont Stakes three weeks later, in which he became the 12th Triple Crown winner and the first in 37 years.

American Pharoah now stands stud at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud in Versailles, Kentucky. Learn more and book a tour of Coolmore at Ashford Stud here.

2010 Preakness Stakes – Lookin at Lucky

Two-time Eclipse Award Champion Lookin at Lucky finished sixth in the Kentucky Derby as the favorite, but stamped himself as the top three year old colt of 2010 with a strong dueling victory in the Preakness Stakes. The Preakness was one of five G1 victories for Lookin at Lucky, who also finished second in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Lookin at Lucky now stands stud at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud in Versailles, Kentucky. Learn more and book a tour of Coolmore at Ashford Stud here.

2009 Preakness Stakes – Rachel Alexandra

14 years ago, Kentucky Oaks winner Rachel Alexandra took on the colts and went wire to wire to win the second leg of the Triple Crown. She would go on to become one of the most famous racemares of all time – winning multiple grade one races including the G1 Woodward against older males as a three year old filly during her storied career.

While Rachel Alexandra is not featured on their regular tours, you can visit her place of residence, Stonestreet Farm and meet possible future champions like Rachel! Learn more and book a tour at Stonestreet Farm here.

Stonestreet also hosts Rachel Alexandra Meet & Greet’s throughout the year, which allow guests to meet the famed mare.

2005 Preakness Stakes – Afleet Alex

It is not often a horse can accomplish a victory in the way that Afleet Alex won the 2005 Preakness Stakes. Even though he placed third in the Kentucky Derby, Afleet Alex entered the Preakness as the favorite. While making a run from the back of the pack, Afleet Alex ran into traffic and fell to his knees at the top of the stretch. He and jockey Jeremy Rose recovered almost instantly, and ran away with the race to win by nearly five lengths. Rose and Afleet Alex would go on to win the Belmont Stakes three weeks later.

Afleet Alex now resides at Gainesway Farm in Lexington, Kentucky where he has been pensioned, or retired, from stud duty. Learn more and book a tour at Gainesway Farm here.