Pimlico Horseracing

Pimlico Race Track is a historic horse racetrack in Baltimore, Maryland that features thoroughbred racing. It is the traditional home of the second jewel of horseracing's Triple Crown - the Preakness Stakes - which makes it one of the most important racetracks in America. Other big events hosted by the racetrack are the Pimlico Race Track Special, the Federico Tesio Stakes, the Jim McKay Breeders Cup Handicap and the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes.

Pimlico Race Track has a Loam oval track, a Turf course and a Grass course.

Pimlico Race Track Facts

    Loam Track
    • Length of stretch from last turn to finish line : 1,152 feet
    • Width of track : 70 feet
    • Has a six-furlong and 1 ¼ mile chutes

    Turf Course
    • 7/8 of a mile inside main track
    • Has an aluminum inner rail

    Grass Course
    • A mixture of sandy clay loam, 65% turf type tall fescue, 25% turf type perennial ryegrass, and 10% blue grass.
    • Grass height is maintained at four to five inches during racing season.

    Pimlico Race Track Capacity
    • New Grandstand: 5,692
    • Old Grandstand: 5,296
    • Clubhouse: 1,269
    • Total Daily Seating Capacity: 13,047
    • Standing Room (estimated): 22,000
    • Infield Capacity (estimated): 60,000

History of Pimlico Race Track

On a late summer evening dinner party in 1868 in Saratoga, an agreement among sportsmen to stage a special race became the foundation for the establishment of both the Pimlico Race Track and the Preakness Stakes.

Governor Oden Bowie of Maryland, a horseman and racing entrepreneur, pledged to build a new racetrack for a proposed stake race to be run in the fall of 1870 for three-year old colts and fillies at two miles. John Hunter, a prominent citizen of New York, proposed that it be known as the Dinner Party Stakes in honor of the evening. The governor then perked up the gathering by offering a purse of $15,000, a staggering sum in those days.

Thus, with Governor Bowie's help, the Maryland Jockey Club negotiated for the acreage known as Pimlico Race Track that same year. The new course, engineered by Gen. John Elliott, opened on October 25, 1870 and the Dinner Party Stakes was run. It was won by the colt Preakness who beat among others, Governor Bowie's fillie, My Maryland.

Nevertheless, Bowie had the satisfaction of putting Baltimore on the thoroughbred racing map with the Dinner Party Stakes and naming the eventual second jewel of the Triple Crown as the Preakness. The Dinner Party Stakes went on to become the Dixie Handicap (now known as the Early Times Dixie), the eighth oldest stakes in America, run annually at Pimlico Race Track.

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