A big thank you to Bethany for letting me guest blog! I gave birth to my blog on Valentine’s Day, and I was so excited when Bethany suggested we do a cross post! My blog, The Sassy Grey, is inspired by my feisty, Thoroughbred mare, Misty Mystique, and will feature lots of horsey fun, but really, everything is fair game in Sassy Grey World!
When I think about Spring’s impending arrival, not only do I think about all the riding I’ll be doing, but I think about being outside and enjoying the various events around town. One of my most favorite things to do is attend the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Racetrack. There’s nothing I like better than getting dressed up, plunking my floppy hat (from J. Crew!) on my head, and spending the day watching the ponies run. (And coincidently, when Misty was racing, she was stabled at Pimlico!).
Both Pimlico and the Preakness hold so much history in Baltimore, and most people probably don’t know that Pimlico is America’s secondest oldest racetrack (Saratoga is the oldest).
While visiting friends in New York in 1868, Maryland Governor, Oden Bowie, vowed to his crowd to hold a horse race in his home state in two years time. His friends from New York would venture down to Baltimore; the losers of the race would have to buy dinner for the winners. Realizing that a horse race could not be run without a track, Bowie commissioned for one to be built.
The Maryland Jockey Club purchased the land for $23,500 and the racetrack was built for $25,000. The track was named Pimlico after the surrounding area that was first christened “Pemblicoe” by English settlers in 1669.
The first race held at Pimlico, “The Dinner Stakes,” was won by a colt named Preakness, thus inspiring the name for the second jewel of the Triple Crown!
On November 1, 1938, the match race in which Seabiscuit beat War Admiral drew a crowd of 43,000 through Pimlico’s gates. Some of history’s most notable Thoroughbreds have thundered down “Old Hilltop’s” stretch: Man o’ War, Sir Barton, Citation, Secretariat and Cigar.
picture from pinterest
Until I adopted Misty off the track in 2008, she, too, thundered down Pimlico’s stretch…but unlike these greats, she never won a race. Instead, she won my heart and is enjoying the life of a beloved family pet.
So whether you watch the Preakness from the Grandstand or from your TV at home, take a moment to remember the history these beautiful horses have given us.
Thanks, Laurie! I'm looking forward to this year's event. How many Maryland Pink and Green readers will be in the grandstand at 136th Preakness Stakes on May 21, 2011?