(CNN)It’s dubbed the “middle jewel”, the second-leg of the prestigious Triple Crown where dreams of a rare treble are made.
After one of the most controversial races in American racing history, Kentucky Derby winner Country House will not feature at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. Trainer Bill Mott has ruled him out on medical grounds.
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Recording the second highest average attendance in American horse racing — behind only the Kentucky Derby — the event is a chance for spectators to stand out.
Much like the Derby, fans dress to impress and celebrities flock to catch a piece of the action.
Such an illustrious event also needs a fitting trophy and the Preakness doesn’t disappoint in that department either.
In fact, the trophy is so precious, the winner is only given a smaller replica whilst the original is kept under guard.
The 1,900-metre flat race has crowned many a champion in the past but none more historic than wonder horse Secretariat. “Big Red” still holds the track record today with a time of 1 minute, 53 seconds which he set in 1973.
Meanwhile, Bob Baffert is the race’s joint most successful trainer, securing his seventh Preakness Stakes when Justify crossed the line last year on his way to the Triple Crown. He is now level with Robert Wyndham Walden, who had his last success in 1888.
In the of absence Country House and Maximum Security, Baffert has a strong chance of claiming a record eighth Preakness victory.
He trains Improbable, who is currently the bookmakers’ favorite for this year’s race ahead of War of Will — one of the horses impeded during the Derby.
If the Kentucky Derby is anything to go by, this year’s Preakness Stakes should not be missed.
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