Posted: May 20, 2019
Two strong programs put together by the Maryland Jockey Club racing office combined with favorable weather conditions to fuel pari-mutuel handle records for Preakness Day (May 18) and Black-Eyed Susan Day (May 17) at Pimlico Race Course.
The Saturday Preakness Stakes card of 14 races generated all-sources wagering of $99,852,653, which topped the previous mark of $97,168,658 in 2017. This year’s handle was up 6.6% from the 2018 figure of $93,655,128, according to track statistics.
The Friday Black-Eyed Susan Stakes program, also 14 races, produced total wagering of $22,281,300. The previous record of $19,895,000 was established in 2017. This year’s handle was up 19.8% from $18,591,000 in 2018.
Last year the weather was less than ideal with rain, heavy at times, on both days, which led to scratches and several off-the-turf races.
Field size for May 18 averaged 9.71 horses, while the May 17 program averaged 9 horses per race. The two-day average was a solid 9.35.
Preakness Day attendance was reported at 131,256. The reported crowd at Pimlico for Black-Eyed Susan Day was a record 51,573.
Gary Barber’s War of Will, trained by Mark Casse and ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, won the Preakness two weeks after a troubled seventh-place finish in the Kentucky Derby. Point of Honor, owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Stetson Racing, captured the Black-Eyed Susan for trainer George Weaver and jockey Javier Castellano.
(Pimlico Race Course photo by Tom LaMarra)