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.
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.
CHF horses that have Preakness winners in their backgrounds include:
Dirty Dawg..aka Koda
Arrrrr aka Captain Morgan