The Preakness: fastest times, best moments in race’s history

Just because the Kentucky Derby is more popular and the Belmont Stakes crowns the rare Triple Crown-winning horses doesn’t mean we should ignore the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course.
Fastest Preakness times
Secretariat ran the fastest race in Preakness history in 1973, but it wasn’t until 2012 that it was recognized as such.
 
The Maryland Racing Commission used new timing technology to determine Secretariat won the Preakness in 1:53, not 1:53.4. With the change, he owns the record for each of the three Triple Crown races. The list below only counts Preakness races run since 1925, when the distance changed to one and three-sixteenth miles, which it is today.
 
Best Preakness performances
The shortest of the three Triple Crown races can often provide the best moments because of the close finishes. Here are seven of the best races in Preakness history.
 
I’ll Have Another (2012)
Doug O’Neill’s horse bested favorite Bodemeister in the Kentucky Derby, then did it again two weeks later at the Preakness. He ran down Bob Baffert’s colt with one furlong to go, pulling ahead by a nose as the two crossed the line. I’ll Have Another scratched from the Belmont Stakes because of injury, so we never saw him run the toughest test of the Triple Crown. This horse could close, essential for securing the third and final jewel.
 
Afleet Alex (2005)
If not for 50-1 long shot Giacomo pulling out a thrilling Kentucky Derby, Afleet Alex could have won the Triple Crown. But in the Preakness, the horse and jockey Jeremy Rose almost went down around the turn upon bumping into Scrappy T. It was a scary moment for both, but Afleet Alex somehow maintained his balance and flew down the stretch to win by five lengths.
 
Silver Charm (1997)
Had this race been even a few feet longer, it would’ve belonged to Captain Bodgit. Instead, 1997 Kentucky Derby winner Silver Charm outlasted both him and Free House by a nose to win the second leg of the Triple Crown. Touch Gold ran down Silver Charm in the Belmont three weeks later, winning by half a length.
 
Sunday Silence (1989)
Sunday Silence and Easy Goer entered the stretch of the 1989 Preakness dead even. At the end, neither had gained or lost any ground. But the loser, Easy Goer, just picked his head up at the finish line and it cost him victory. Horse races can’t get any closer than this one.
 
Codex (1980)
One of the most controversial finishes in race history came in 1980, when Codex and jockey Angel Cordero bumped Kentucky Derby winner Genuine Risk to the outside around the final turn. It came under much public scrutiny, but the Maryland Jockey Club eventually ruled that there was no interference, and Codex remained the victor.
 
Affirmed (1978)
The Triple Crown winner held off Alydar down the stretch at Pimlico to win his second leg. These two horses raced an unprecedented 10 times during their 2- and 3-year-old seasons, and Affirmed prevailed in seven of them. Alydar, the sire of Easy Goer, finished second in all three Triple Crown races that year.
 
Secretariat (1973)
The first turn at Pimlico is a tight one. It’s thought to be too tight to make an early move. Secretariat and jockey Ron Turcotte had other ideas in the 1973 Preakness. Secretariat didn’t break well, but went from last to first in 300 yards early in the race and beat Sham by three lengths. It’s still the fastest race ever run in the Preakness.

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