05/06/2014 10:37AM

Jerardi: Preakness plays unique role in racing landscape

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Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Singing My Way has won seven races in seven starts this year, earning $104,550 in the process.

There are significant races in the Mid-Atlantic in the spring, summer, and fall, races with great tradition and big purses. The Preakness at Pimlico, however, stands alone.

It is the first time we all get to see the Kentucky Derby winner run, and a shot at the Triple Crown is at stake.

This year, we are fortunate to have a truly exceptional horse who keeps running the same way race after race. The Derby was the fifth straight race California Chrome has put away at the head of the stretch. None of the speed horses can keep up with him. None of the closers can catch him.

Beyond California Chrome and the Preakness itself, “The People’s Race ... the People’s Party,” they call it at Pimlico, the Preakness is a scene. Even though it started in 1873, the modern Preakness really blew up 100 years later, in 1973, when Secretariat ran and the infield first took off as the place to be on the third Saturday in May.

The horse race certainly matters. The Preakness, however, is bigger than just the race.

::2014 PREAKNESS STAKES: Latest news, video, and more

Next Friday, on Black-Eyed Susan Day, Pimlico will host the $50,000 Xpressbet Jockey Challenge. Every active Hall of Fame rider except Gary Stevens (a late scratch) will compete in four races, with points awarded depending on where they finish. Russell Baze (class of 1999), Mike Smith (2003), Kent Desormeaux (2004), Edgar Prado (2008), John Velazquez (2012), Calvin Borel (2013), and Alex Solis (2014) are scheduled to compete.

“Gary has been very selective with his rides since coming out of retirement last year and makes a conscious effort to limit his mounts,” Pimlico president Tom Chuckas said of Stevens. “He plans on riding in stakes races during Preakness Weekend, which take priority.”

The other seven riders have combined for almost 45,000 wins in North America, with earnings of $1.6 billion. Stevens and Solis, incidentally, are both closing in on 5,000 career wins.

Mounts will be determined by a drawing this Sunday, with points awarded for first place (12 points), second (6), third (4), and fourth (3) in each race. The winner will get $20,000, second $10,000, third $7,000, fourth $4,000, fifth $3,500, sixth $3,000 and seventh $2,500.

The InfieldFest

The Churchill Downs infield may be more crowded, but it is not as loud as Pimlico’s. The Preakness InfieldFest will feature hip-hop artist Nas and DJs Frank Walker and Glenn Morrison on the main stage.

Nas has 11 Grammy nominations, seven platinum albums, and top-five rankings on MTV’s 10 Greatest MCs and The Source’s Top 50 Lyricists of All Time. Nas has six No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200, tying him with Eminem and Kanye West for second all time among rappers.

Singing My Way on a roll

Entering 2014, Singing My Way had run 23 times at Calder, Gulfstream Park, Belmont Park, Parx Racing, Laurel Park, Pimlico, Delaware Park, and Suffolk Downs. The newly turned 5-year-old had won six times and had career earnings of $108,644. He had won consecutive races just once.

In 2014, Singing My Way has run seven times at Laurel, Charles Town, and Pimlico. He has never been behind at any call and was a clear winner in the first six races before holding on to win last Sunday at Pimlico to go 7 for 7 this year. He has earned $104,550 this year.

Singing My Way is the California Chrome of the starter-allowance set, and he too has won at a mile and a quarter. He won one race by 18 1/4 lengths, another by 12 1/4. Add up his winning margins, and it is 52 1/2 lengths.

Jimmy Turano More than 1 year ago
Breeders cup day a Black eye for the fans thanks to NBC. Remember when you could watch every race on Television? Now we are in the year of 2014. Technology, inventions, improvements and cable T.V. Advancements and a complete throw back to early television in one day. No Breeders cup races to watch, no OTB, and no more family gatherings sitting around watching the Super Bowl of Racing. We sure came along way,right? No wonder why Horse racing attendance is down, and fading away fast. Good news is plenty of Rugby, Golf, car racing, college football, and soccer to watch. You can keep it. Racing fans, Gambling, enjoyment is of the past. ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// CHANGE IS SUPPOSED TO BE GOOD. FOR WHO I DON'T KNOW!
Jimmy Turano More than 1 year ago
From gate to wire.....TONALIST.........and a nice price to. post 11 I wish I worked for the DRF. But don't. I only can voice my opinion while all experts are intoxicated with hoop de la. My feet are on the ground. HORSE RACING BASICS ARE IN PLAY. Big Balloons for what I believe is a total standout!
Jimmy Turano More than 1 year ago
May 30th-The Belmont is around the corner now. We would all like to see a Triple Crown winner. Chrome breezing and enjoying Belmont surface. But what is evident is the rested horse, the one that has won over the surface, and the one that I believe will help crate an exciting Photo finish. A Head in front of Chrome. TONALIST.
George Pimentel More than 1 year ago
This is the reason we got sports, even golf, there is a difference of opinion among people. It's just human nature. Can you believe there are people who believe that WRESTLING is real??? That shows how much people like to disagree on everything. Even if there was no horse racing, people still would find something to disagree on. G-MON
JIM TURANO More than 1 year ago
Good Day! In reading just some of the comments, I believe you just can not satisfy everyone. In life, no matter what business you are in, it is impossible not to hear complaints. Especially from those who are chronic complainers, and individuals who never accomplished much in life themselves. Racetrack, change the events, etc.etc.. To those racing fans maybe you should watch golf on television instead of Horse Racing. Opinions are just that. Tradition is a matter of fact. Lets put the importance on what is current. California Chrome is a special horse of the times right now. He is on stage, and proving himself each time, in each race. Until any other horse can beat him, he is CENTER STAGE for the moment in time. How anyone can say, that the triple crown is easy is quite surprising. But then you can find people like this probably at your local bowling alley to. I have been a racing fan for 50 years. I had the pleasure of being part owner of two horses, and enjoyed every minute of my life in the 1980's. I have appreciated the DRF, its writers and staff, the game itself, and meeting many trainers and jockeys. The focus should be on the Derby Winner right now. How this horse won the Santa Anita convinced me, that Chrome was the Derby winner. And if anyone follows the horses figure ratings, it was a standout. Those that want to make money on the Preakness should just sit back and watch the race. Thank you DRF.
. More than 1 year ago
I'm a bettor. I pray he wins the Preakness so I can bet hard against him in the Belmont. Now, how do you like them apples?
Jimmy Turano More than 1 year ago
June 8, 2014....La Difference! Selection for Derby-Chrome-he won Selection for Preakness-Chrome-he won Selection for Belmont-Tonalist-He won. Have a good day everyone.
jbluft More than 1 year ago
I'm picking Lorde to win the Preakness
1971 Whippet More than 1 year ago
Have walked through "The People's Party" once. That was enough. Did enjoy watching the Baltimore PD do their job, though. But, yeah, what's the purpose of this article? How many people, new to racing, now know that the Triple Crown runs through Pimlico? 4? 5? Wish I had a job like that.....
Kell More than 1 year ago
i cannot believe people actually want to make it easy for horses to win the triple crown this is the way it's been back in the old days the races were even closer together..maybe it's time to to run the horses more
Honnimae More than 1 year ago
you mean a non KY bred. Get over the Hate. in the old days they the races were open to everyone as it is now. You also mean the 150k and 300k babies they took there shot in the Derby and what happen, the Breeding in KY is Falling Off.
Ian GW More than 1 year ago
Lets hope there is good races to bet not to watch big difference. A few weeks ago when KNL closed that race Unitarian won was the best betting race I have ever seen. Kudos to whoever put that race together just wish we got more like that. Happy to cash at 32-1 on CC!
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
how does hip hop and loud music combine with racing. no wonder the sport is dying.
Mike Hummel More than 1 year ago
We definitely don't want those young people coming to the track and having a good time. They might get hooked.
Jack Armstead More than 1 year ago
Ray.... Nas will bring the young people to the track. If only 4 percent of them like the experience (regardless if they win or lose money... because almost everyone there will meet or see 1 person who is screaming that they "Won their bet and hit the Exacta....") then this is a smart thing to do. I wonder what his appearance fee really is? We need the younger generation to get exposed and get "bitten by the bug" because this industry is dying a slow death.
. More than 1 year ago
Dude, it's a big party, that's what it's about. I'm not going but my oldest son and wife are going they're 26, first time he's gone to a track without me. You gummers had your chance. :)
joseph More than 1 year ago
The sport is dying because its perceived as corrupt and it needs to be totally drug free with a national racing circuit governed by one body and one set of rules, with ultimately less races and bigger fields for those remaining horses fit enough to compete without drugs. Hey Ray what I really need is another long winded dissertation on Wise Dan visa-vie Wolf Power, late bloomer et all, that will certainly get the blood flowing again, lol.