Preakness Stakes Receives 50% Purse Boost to $1.5 Million

Running its inaugural race way back in 1873, the Preakness Stakes is one of the most important thoroughbred horse races in the world. The second leg of the famed Triple Crown of thoroughbred horse racing, the Preakness regularly ranks as the second most attended and most viewed thoroughbred horse race in North America, behind only the storied Kentucky Derby. And due to a recent announcement, viewership and attendance may even improve in 2014.

As a flat out thoroughbred horse race held at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, this Grade I race over 9.5 furlongs (1 3/16 miles) on dirt just received some financial support to the tune of a staggering 50% stakes increase beginning in 2014. The 139th running of the Preakness Stakes will take place next year on Saturday, May 17 at Pimlico, with the Run for the Black-Eyed Susans delivering an expanded purse of $1.5 million, making it the second largest among the three Triple Crown races.

Run after the Kentucky Derby and before the Belmont Stakes, the Preakness is "the centerpiece of a terrific stakes program that weekend," according to Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas in a recent interview. He pointed out that 26 races in all are run on Preakness and Black-Eyed Susan days, and a full 17 of those are stakes races. He went on to mention that this financial increase boosts the total value of the stakes races over the Preakness Stakes two day slate of races to nearly $4 million.

Maryland Racing Commission chairman Bruce Quade said that in his estimation the Preakness was way overdue for a financial increase, with the last boost coming in 1998 and doubling the Preakness to a purse of $1 million. He said that he fully supports the move, believing that in is an excellent step forward "in bringing Maryland racing back to a preeminent spot in the racing landscape."

The 2014 Kentucky Derby boasts an overall purse of $2 million, with the third and final leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes, offering a total purse of $1 million next year. The Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes are routinely attended and viewed by spectators who do not pay attention to any other horse racing events throughout the year. This widespread popularity of the Triple Crown of thoroughbred horse racing in the US will only be bolstered by this financial move, a pretty nice feather in the cap of the Preakness Stakes, whose first purse back in 1873 was just $1,000.

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