THE BIRTH OF A LEGEND
Historic Pimlico Race Course, home of the Preakness Stakes and second oldest racetrack in the nation behind Saratoga, opened its doors on October 25, 1870. Pimlico has hosted many racing icons for over a century; legendary horses such as Man o’ War, Sir Barton, Seabiscuit, War Admiral, Citation, Secretariat and Cigar have thundered down her stretch in thrilling and memorable competition.
Pimlico was ultimately the result of an interesting dinner party proposition made by Maryland’s then Governor, Oden Bowie. In Saratoga, New York in 1868 Bowie and his friends, prominent racing figures, agreed to race horses that were then just yearlings in two years time to commemorate the evening. The winner would host the losers for dinner. Saratoga and the American Jockey Club bid for the event, but Governor Bowie pledged he would build a model racetrack in his home state if the race were to be run in Baltimore. And so, Pimlico was built.
REMEMBERING THE OLD DAYS
The name “Pimlico” was given to the area by English settlers in Colonial times, although the “Pemblicoe” spelling appeared on the original settlement charter in 1669.The colonists were from an area near London and brought with them memories of a famous landmark, Olde Ben Pimlico’s Tavern.
Engineered by General John Ellicott, Pimlico was constructed on 70 acres of land, west of Jones Falls; the Maryland Jockey Club purchased the land for $23,500 and built the track for $25,000. On any given race day in the 1800’s Baltimoreans could be seen in horse–drawn carriages parading through Druid Hill Park, then down Green Spring Road and on to the Course.
Later, for greater convenience, a spur was built from Western Maryland Railroad at Arlington to go directly to the grandstand. The racetrack soon became affectionately known as “Old Hilltop”, after a small rise in the infield that was a favorite gathering place for trainers and race enthusiasts to view and cheer on the racers close–up. The infield was a fashionable rendezvous where four–in–hands, “spikes”, tandems, pairs and singles parked and lively guests would congregate between races for a champagne lunch. Today, the nickname remains, but the hill was removed in April 1938 because it obscured the track–level view of the backstretch in the early days of filming races.
In 1904, after a brief hiatus, racing at Pimlico ignited unprecedented recognition and interest from the public and newspapers alike. Race charts began to appear, quite similar to modern day style, instead of mere social reports. Pimlico even survived the anti–gambling movement of 1910, where the sport was banned everywhere except Maryland and Kentucky. Billy Riggs is alleged to have saved eastern racing at this time with his use of the less sinful “French Pools” or pari–mutuel machines instead of bookmarkers and blackboards.
Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming will be shipped to Pimlico Race Course early Tuesday morning to begin preparations for the 142nd Preakness on May 20.He is scheduled to arrive at Baltimore-Washington International Airport at 9:30 a.m.
Under jockey John Velazquez, Always Dreaming, the 9-2 favorite, won the 143rd Kentucky Derby by 2 3/4 lengths over a sloppy track early Saturday evening. It was trainer Todd Pletcher’s second Derby victory and the first for the ownership group of MeB Racing, Brooklyn Boyz, Teresa Viola Stable, St. Elias Stable, Siena Farm and West Point Thoroughbreds headed by Anthony and Mary Ellen Bonomo.
|2001||Point Given||The Thoroughbred Corp.||Bob Baffert||Gary L. Stevens||The Thoroughbred Corp.|
|2002||War Emblem||The Thoroughbred Corp.||Bob Baffert||Victor Espinoza||C. Nuckols|
|2003||Funny Cide||Sackatoga Stable||Barclay Tagg||Jose Santos||WinStar Farm|
|2004||Smarty Jones||Someday Farm||John Servis||Stewart Elliott||Someday Farm|
|2005||Afleet Alex||Cash is King, LLC||Tim Ritchey||Jeremy Rose||John Martin|
|2006||Bernardini||Darley Stable||Thomas Albertrani||Javier castellano||Darley Stable|
|2007||Curlin||Stonestreet, Padua, Midnight Cry Stables & George Bolton||Steve Asmussen||Robby Albarado||Fair Farm Inc.|
|2008||Big Brown||IEAH Stables and Paul Pompa, Jr.||Richard Dutrow, Jr.||Kent J. Desormeaux||Monticule Farm|
|2009||Rachel Alexandra||Jess Jackson and Harold T. McCormick||Steve Asmussen||Calvin Borel||Dolphus Morrison|
|2010||Lookin At Lucky||Mike Pegram, Karl Watson, Paul Weitman||Bob Baffert||Martin Garcia||Gulf Coast Farms|
|2011||Shackleford||Michael Lauffer & W.D. Cubbedge||Dale Romans||Jesus Lopez Castanon||Michael Lauffer & W.D. Cubbedge|
|2012||I’ll Have Another||J. Paul Reddam||Doug F. O’Neill||Mario Gutierrez||Harvey Clarke|
|2013||Oxbow||Calumet Farm||D. W. Lukas||Gary Stevens||Colts Neck Stable|
|2014||California Chrome||Steve Coburn & Perry Martin||Art Sherman||Victor Espinoza||Steve Coburn & Perry Martin|
|2015||American Pharoah||Zayat Stables||Bob Baffert||Victor Espinoza||Zayat Stables|
|2016||Exaggerator||Big Chief Racing, LLC, Head of Plains Partners LLC||J. Keith Desormeaux||Kent Desormeaux||Joseph B. Murphy|