Complete Visitor’s Guide For The 2023 Preakness Stakes Festival

Written By Sam Hollingsworth on May 11, 2023 - Last Updated on May 12, 2023
Preakness Stakes visitors guide

The show must go on.

Now that the Kentucky Derby and all of its drama is (mostly) out of the way, the focus turns to Maryland horse racing, and its biggest prize — the middle jewel in American racing’s coveted Triple CrownThe Preakness Stakes.

With just a two-week gap between the Derby and Preakness, it’s a quick turnaround for the big show as it heads Northeast to the Mid-Atlantic Region for a chance at some of the $1.5 million purse and, maybe, a shot at history.

Of course, Kentucky Derby longshot winner Mage will be competing in the race for the potential opportunity of seizing horse racing’s prized Triple Crown — but he won’t get it done easily.

Despite a field of horses that will definitely be smaller than that of the Kentucky Derby, there will be multiple contenders with fresh legs ready to take their shot at the 3-year-old son of Good Magic, who himself finished fourth in the Preakness after a second-place finish in the Derby two weeks prior in 2018.

There’s an entire meet planned around the Preakness and its Triple Crown celebration, spanning 15 days from May to mid-June, and lots of opportunity for excitement at Pimlico Race Course can be had using the info below to help plan.

Preakness Meet schedule

The official Preakness Meet at Pimlico begins on May 11 and will run for 15 days of racing that includes the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes on Friday, May 19, and the Preakness on Saturday, May 20.

The first day of racing on May 11 is slated for eight races with a first post of 12:25 p.m. ET. That will also be post time for most every other race day throughout the meet aside from Black-Eyed Susan and Preakness days (Black-Eyed Susan Day’s First Post of the day will be at 11:30 a.m. ET. Preakness Day’s First Post will be 10:30 a.m. ET).

There is also a special Memorial Day live racing card at Pimlico during the Preakness meet with a First Post of 12:30 p.m.

There will also be simulcast at the track from Wednesday to Sunday each week offering viewing and wagering, as well as limited dining options, for racing around the country.

May 11 will also signify the launch of the Guinness Open Gate collaboration beer brewed in tribute to the Preakness and its Maryland heritage. It’s made locally with blood orange and hibiscus and will be on draft and in cans to-go at Guinness Open Gate Brewery, at select Baltimore-area bars, and at Pimlico Race Course throughout Preakness 148 weekend.

The beer will be a big deal at Preakness but also throughout the meet, especially at and around the track.

Introducing Preak Weeks

Through an inaugural event intended to highlight ownership group 1/ST’s commitment to diversity and independent-business ownership in Baltimore and its surrounding area, Preak Weeks starts on May 1 and runs through May 19.

1/ST racing and its partners are encouraging visitors and racing enthusiasts to stop into local businesses and explore all the area and its businesses have to offer. Participating businesses include restaurants and cafes, service providers like spas, hair studios and even car washes, as well as boutiques, community attractions, and historical landmarks.

While it officially started on May 1, one has to believe it will really start to pick up with the racetrack officially opening on May 11, and even more so starting on May 15 when Preakness Stakes and Black-Eyed Susan Week gets ready for the premiere stage.

Preakness Post-Position Draw

Preakness Week officially starts with the Preakness Post-Position Draw at the Guinness Open Gate Brewery at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, May 15.

It’s the first time the draw has been held at the brewery, and it’s also anticipated there will be a livestream available as the event gets closer in time.

“We can’t wait to welcome the community to the brewery for the Preakness 148 Post-Position Draw event,” said Oliver Gray of Guinness Open Gate Brewery. “(It will be) an entirely new way to engage in Preakness festivities in a different space.”

The draw is scheduled to be a two-hour event at the brewery at 5001 Washington Blvd. in Halethorpe, Maryland.

In addition to the vitality the collaborative event plays into the overall excitement for the week that will culminate on Saturday evening, it also signifies a new and unique tradition celebrating a partnership with Guinness and its first-of-its-kind Preakness Ale.

“It is very exciting to create something special for Preakness, given how integral to Baltimore’s culture the race is,” Gray said. “From the Guinness gates to the Preakness Stakes, this is the beer to enjoy while celebrating the occasion”

Black-Eyed Susan Day

On Friday, May 19, It’s all about the ladies.

And rightfully so.

It’s 98th edition of the Grade 1 race for fillies, and this year has a formidable list of contenders, though none of them have jumped out to early greatness just yet in the 2023 season.

It’s a perfect lead-up to Saturday’s Preakness Day card.

What to expect on the day of the Preakness Stakes

The culmination of it all comes to a head on Saturday, May 20, with the legendary Preakness Stakes.

It’s always a key race in the 3-year-old campaign for many champion racehorses, and it’s a pivotal building block for earning the most lucrative black type for horses and their connections.

Kentucky Derby winner Mage will look to next reign victorious in the Preakness and earn a chance at becoming the 14th Triple Crown winner ever as he heads into the Belmont Stakes in June.

That is, if he is able to capture the Preakness, which is the shortest race among the Triple Crown races in terms of distance, but is by no means a “gimme” for any horse.

Some solid contenders, like Derby second-place-finisher Two Phil’s, will skip the Preakness.

But the Chad Brown-trained Blazing Sevens has been steadily training with his eyes on the race, something his trainer said was a decision based largely on the horse’s potential that has not quite fully bloomed yet. Brown took the proper, patient route with this horse hoping that the big next step will be on May 20.

Other expected contenders include Bob Baffert-trainee National Treasure, First Mission, Red Route One, and Perform, whose connections paid an extra $150,000 to qualify the horse for the race.

Something else worth noting here is that Blazing Sevens and Perform are both sired by Good Magic, just like Kentucky Derby-winner Mage.

Preakness Day includes live entertainment from Bruno Mars

Preakness Day is also the only day of the entire race meet offering the Preakness Live experience on the infield. It’s a mixture of music, entertainment, and partying … and there is some horse racing going on, too!

The day starts at 10 a.m. will be a long one.

Bruno Mars will headline the Preakness Live event, and, as the headliner, he won’t head onto stage until after the Preakness is over and the trophy celebration has commenced. In the past, headliners have actually performed during some of the biggest races of the day instead of afterwards. There will be musical acts playing throughout the day regardless.

As part of the evolution of the experience, the Preakness LIVE stage, once positioned in the center of the Pimlico infield, will relocate to provide an unparalleled view of one of the most exciting moments in horse racing — the view of the final stretch brought to you in partnership with luxury global entertainment and hospitality brand, Palm Tree Crew.

The Preakness Live event takes place in the infield and comes in a variety of ticket options that are listed below.

Preakness Stakes ticket options

There are a variety of unique experiences to choose from on Preakness Weekend for those planning on attending Preakness Day or the entire weekend of festivities.

From two-day ticket packages in a variety of locations in and around the track, each offering its own perks and options, patrons have the option to basically watch the races from anywhere they’d like.

For those interested in a more traditional experience along the grandstand lining the track, there are Concourse, Grandstand, and Clubhouse tickets available, as well as Clubhouse Dining tickets in a more restaurant-like setting.

For those interested in being on the infield, the Turfside Terrace offers a special experience along the home stretch from the inside of the track, in addition to premium options in the 1/ST Chalet and Finish Line Suites.

Preakness Day also boasts its signature Preakness Live ticket offering, which promises to be an experience that is a longstanding tradition at Pimlico on the third Saturday in May.

Ticket options outside of the Turfside Terrace and surrounding premium options include:

  • General Admission: General Admission to the Preakness LIVE experience, including headliner Bruno Mars
  • MUG Club Presented by Guinness Baltimore Blonde: Bottomless beer on the infield in addition to general admission to Preakness LIVE
  • MUG & Vine Club: MUG and Vine Club is an upgraded experience to General Admission and includes a souvenir mug and exclusive access to MUG Club stations for bottomless pour of all Guinness Baltimore Blonde beer and wine.
  • VIP: VIP grants an upgraded experience to General Admission, providing standing-room only access to the uncovered VIP areas, complimentary food, executive restrooms, and GA access to the Clubhouse. VIP does NOT include Mug Club or Mug & Vine Club bottomless pours. No building access permitted.
  • Platinum VIP: Platinum VIP grants an upgraded experience to General Admission, providing access to the covered VIP deck, dedicated open bars, complimentary food, executive restrooms, and GA access to the clubhouse. VIP does NOT include Mug Club or Mug & Vine Club. No building access permitted.

There are also discounts available on group tickets.

All information and ticket options are available on the Preakness website.

Parking at Pimlico Race Course

Admission to the track is free every day except Black-Eyed Susan and Preakness Days.

Parking is also free on all but those two days.

So, if planning to attend either Black-Eyed Susan or Preakness Days, you should have a plan for parking unless you’re being dropped off.

You can purchase a parking pass for all of Preakness Weekend (both Friday and Saturday) or individually for each day on the Preakness website and Ticketmaster.

How to watch the Preakness and Black-Eyed Susan

Coverage of the Black-Eyed Susan starts on Friday at 5 p.m. ET on USA.

Preakness coverage starts at 2 p.m. ET on CNBC before moving over to NBC at 4 p.m. ET for the remainder of the racing card.

Photo by Terrance Williams / Associated Press
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Sam Hollingsworth

Sam is a native New Yorker with a long history of sports betting as well as watching, wagering, and owning racehorses, and, of course, casino-frequenting. He enjoys visiting sporting venues — anything from the U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center to any baseball game regardless of the level of play or length of the drive to get there, and any horse racing venue. Sam is a marketing executive, father and dog owner with a zest for life and love for exploring.

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