Pimlico Race Course

The venerable Pimlico Race Course is home to the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the American Triple Crown. The Baltimore, Maryland track opened in 1870 and quickly established itself as a premier racing destination on the East Coast. Nicknamed “Old Hilltop,” the iconic Pimlico Race Course is currently owned by the Stronach Group.

As per this introduction, you can already see the importance of Pimlico for US horse racing. The odds for the Preakness Stakes were last updated on May 14, 2021: 

Preakness Stakes odds 2021 Bovada BetOnline BetUS
Medina Spirit +185 +180 +180
Concert Tour +350 +350 +350
Midnight Bourbon +500 +550 +500
Crowded Trade +800 +1000 +1000
Rombauer +1200 +1200 +1200
Risk Taking +1500 +1500 +1500

Betting Pimlico Race Course Online

Thoroughbred race fans can bet on all of the biggest events at Pimlico Race Course through online racebooks. Similar to OTB sites, online racebooks allow enthusiasts to wager on the action when they’re unable to visit the track themselves. Also, promotions like rebates and bonus bets nudge the odds slightly in favor of the player.


How to Bet on Pimlico

To know how to bet on Pimlico, it is helpful to know about the track. Pimlico Race Course hosts both dirt and turf racing. Their main track is a one-mile dirt oval and set inside of that is a seven-furlong turf course. There is the capacity to house over 1,000 horses on the grounds and when the infield is opened up, the track can hold over 120,000 fans. Live racing is held at Pimlico for roughly six weeks each year from early May to the end of June. In 2020, Pimlico will be open for a special meet in October.

Pimlico offers the regular bets at most tracks: Win, Place, Show, Exacta, Quinella, Trifecta, Superfecta, as well as Daily Double, Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5, and Pick 6 wagering. If you are on track, you cash your bet by going to a teller or a machine, but if you are betting Pimlico online the money will be deposited into your betting account.

The Pimlico Rainbow Pick 6 is a jackpot bet where the pool is distributed to the holder of one unique pari-mutuel ticket. When there is more than one ticket that hits all six winners, part of the pool is paid out in consolation and the rest is rolled over to the next day. 

Pimlico’s Early Pick 5, which has a minimum bet of 50 cents, only carries over if no one hits all five races. 75% of the pool is carried over and 25% consolation is paid out to the highest winners if no one hits it.

The minimum age for betting on Pimlico horse racing is 18.

pimlico race course online betting

Pimlico Betting Tips

The most important Pimlico betting tips are to know the best Pimlico jockeys and trainers. Because Preakness Stakes day has the highest purses, a lot of the statistics show ship-in trainers and jockeys at the top in regards to purse earnings, but to bet Pimlico each day a bettor needs to know the locals. Trevor McCarthy does well at Pimlico, followed by Avery Whisman, Jorge Vargas, Jr., and Julio Correa. Fergal Lynch won the title in 2018. It helps to keep an eye on nearby Laurel Park, where many of the riders and trainers are the same, and Sheldon Russell is doing best in 2020.

As for trainers, Jamie Ness is an up and coming trainer who led the standings in 2019. Graham Motion, who is a leading trainer in North America, does well at Pimlico, followed by Claudio Gonzalez.

Pimlico has long been discussed as a speed-favoring track with “tight turns” but that is not true. Overlays have shown that the track layout is very similar to Churchill Downs and other tracks built at regular size.

Best Races at Pimlico Race Course

The best races at Pimlico Race Course include nine graded stakes. The Preakness Stakes is the only one to hold coveted Grade 1 status currently but there are two long-running Grade 2 events – the Dixie Stakes on the grass for older horses, and the Black Eyed Susan Stakes for three-year-old fillies. The Dixie Stakes is as old as the track itself – it was run for the first time in 1870.

Winners of the Dixie Stakes include Catholic Boy, a Grade 1 winner on dirt and turf, in 2019. Other top winners are Ironicus, Parading, Better Talk Now, Lure, and SKy Classic. The Dixie Stakes has been won five times by retired jockey Ramon Dominguez, with Javier Castellano winning it twice in the last five years. Trainer Bill Mott has done best in the modern era with three wins.

The Black Eyed Susan Stakes is often the next stop for three-year-old fillies after the Kentucky Oaks. Hall of Fame mare Silverbulletday won the race in 1999 after winning the Oaks. The great mare Royal Delta won it in 2011, giving Bill Mott a win. Both trainers D. Wayne Lukas (Serena’s Song, Lucky Lucky Lucky, Family Style, and Imaginary Lady) and his former assistant Todd Pletcher (Spun Sugar, Panty Raid, In Lingerie, and Stopchargingmaria) have won it four times. The race is run over 1 1/8 miles on the dirt and is worth $250,000. The Black Eyed Susan was first run in 1919.

pimlico race course wagering

The Pimlico Special (G3) used to be one of the most important handicap races in the world. The 1 3/16 mile race was run from 1937 until 1958, then revived in 1988 and is still run today. Farma Way holds the speed record at 1:52.40 for his win in 1991. Canadian champion Shaman Ghost won the race in 2017, and in the 1990s it was won by the likes of Cigar, Gentlemen, Skip Away, and Real Quiet. Tom Fool, Assault, Citation, Twilight Tear, and Whirlaway all won the historic race in the 1940s and 1950s.

One race that is no longer a Grade 2 but is now a Grade 3 is the Allaire duPont Distaff. It has been won by jockey John Velazquez three times, and trainers Shug McGaughey and Todd Pletcher three times each as well. Stopchargingmaria returned after winning the Black Eyed Susan to take the Allaire duPont Distaff in 2015. It has also been won by top Grade 1 winner Ajina and Serena’s Song.

Possibly the most well-known race that ever happened at Pimlico was the Seabisucit versus War Admiral match race on November 1, 1938. Now immortalized in a major movie, California underdog Seabisucit outran Triple Crown winner War Admiral in a race that stopped the nation. Seabiscuit had the lead going into the clubhouse turn, then slowed to let War Admiral catch up through half of the race before drawing away. One out of three Americans watched the race live. 

Results / Fixtures

Pimlico Race Course History

The Preakness Stakes is named after the horse who won the first stakes race – the Dinner Party Stakes – at Pimlico Race Course in 1870. Three years later, the Preakness Stakes was run for the first time and eventually became the second leg of the American Triple Crown. The race is actually older than the Kentucky Derby and was run at several different locations before returning to Pimlico in 1909 where it found a permanent home.

Pimlico has been a major player in the evolution of American horse racing. When an anti-gambling movement swept through the country in 1910, Pimlico, along with Churchill Downs, held steady and stayed in operation. In addition to being a pioneer in pari-mutuel wagering, Pimlico introduced the electronic starting gate which ensures a fair and equal start.

In October 2019, a deal was reached that would keep Pimlico in operation rather than being sold off to be developed. Millions of dollars in renovations will be completed, with a new grandstand expected.

pimlico race course

Preakness Field and Odds

The Preakness Stakes is so popular because it has all of the crowd of the Kentucky Derby with less of the fashion and more of the party. The Preakness Field and odds are established 72 hours before the race, which will be on September 30 in 2020. Morning line odds will be available at this time.

Five fillies have won the Preakness Stakes, most recently Rachel Alexandra in 2009. That filly defeated Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird by one length as the heavy favorite.

Preakness Stakes Day is full of fanfare and festivals. There are parties and live bands performing in the infield, and the official drink – the Black-Eyed Susan – flows. Instead of being saddled in the indoor paddock, the Preakness field is saddled outside on the turf course in full view of the crowd. They parade under large yellow signs with their names on them before taking to the track for the Preakness post parade

The best Preakness winners include Secretariat, Justify, American Pharoah, Curlin, Smarty Jones, Sunday Silence, Alysheba, and Spectacular Bid. In 2005, Afleet Alex famously nearly fell at the top of the stretch when bumped by Scrappy T, then recovered and went on to win impressively before also taking the Belmont Stakes in New York. 

Check back for 2020 Preakness betting odds closer to the race.