The Preakness Stakes can very often be the forgotten race in horse racing’s Triple Crown. The Kentucky Derby is the first race in the series and is full of pageantry and Southern charm. The Belmont Stakes is usually the home of history, since any Triple Crown hopeful will have to win at the longest track in order to achieve their ultimate goal.
However, the “middle child” of the Triple Crown has it’s own history and charms—including the fifth annual Infield Fest on Saturday, May 17. Infield Fest is billed as the Baltimore region’s biggest party and caps off a week of festivities in and around the Pimlico racetrack. This year, the festivities start at 8:20 AM when Kristen & The Noise play the first of their three sets of the day. The music continues through the afternoon with sets by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Chevelle and Pitbull all before the horses take post position. An eclectic lineup to be sure, but, again, the Preakness has its own sense of tradition—it is not the Kentucky Derby Part II.
If this all sounds too early, then you will be reassured by both the Beer Garden and MUG Club tickets that can be purchased. In those venues, you’ll be able to get your hands on a variety of beers and cocktails, including the traditional drink of the Preakness, the Black Eyed Susan—a mixture of vodka, St. Germain, lemon juice, blackberry simple syrup and bitters named after the flower of the Preakness—which many find to be more refreshing than the Kentucky Derby’s mint julep.
And this year, the Pimlico racetrack will host the first ever Preakness Eve Infield concert on Friday, May 16. The Friday before the Preakness is known as Black Eyed Susan Day, which celebrates the running of the Black Eyed Susan stakes for three-year-old fillies. The Preakness Eve concert will feature performances by the Goo Goo Dolls, Rodney Atkins and Rachel Farley; and will also be another chance to throw back a few Black Eyed Susan cocktails.
This Saturday, don’t let the Preakness pass you by. It’s an American sporting tradition.