May 15, 1918: Two horses—War Cloud and Jack Hare Jr.—were declared the winner of the Preakness Stakes, not because of a dead heat, but because the race was run in two divisions.
May 15, 1952: John Longden gained his 4,000th victory, riding at Hollywood Park.
May 15, 1954: Nashua won his first race, running 4 ½ furlongs over a straightaway at Belmont Park.
May 15, 1993: Genuine Risk, the second of three fillies to have won the Kentucky Derby since it began in 1875, gave birth to her first foal after 13 years of failed attempts and miscarriages. The foal, a son of Rahy, was named Genuine Reward.
May 15, 1999: Lee Chang Ferrell, a patron in the Pimlico infield, jumped onto the track in midstretch and interfered with the running of the Maryland Breeders’ Cup Handicap. The race winner, Yes It’s True, avoided the trouble, but wagers on fifth-place finisher Artax were refunded due to the incident. Later that day, Charismatic, winner of the Kentucky Derby, took the Preakness Stakes before a record crowd of 100,311.
May 15, 2004: Smarty Jones won the Preakness Stakes by 11 ½ lengths, the largest winning margin in the 129-year history of the event.
May 16, 1884: Buchanan became the first maiden to win the Kentucky Derby. Only two other maiden horses have gone on to win the Run for the Roses: Sir Barton in 1919, and Brokers Tip in 1933.
May 16, 1925: The first network radio broadcast of the Kentucky Derby aired from WHAS in Louisville.
May 16, 1979: Gary Stevens rode his first career winner, named Lil Star, trained by his father, Ron Stevens, at Les Bois Park.
May 16, 1998: Bob Baffert became the first person to train Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winners in successive years. In 1997, Baffert won the Derby and Preakness with Silver Charm; the following year, he won with Real Quiet.
May 16, 1998: During Preakness Stakes Day at Pimlico Racecourse, a transformer went down at 1:00 p.m., causing a power failure in the grandstand. With temperatures in the 90s, the facility had no operating air-conditioning, lights, closed-circuit television, public address system, elevators, escalators or betting windows. A record crowd of 91,122 was on hand and an estimated $1.5 million in on-track handle was lost.
May 16, 2009: Rachel Alexandra became just the fifth filly to win the Preakness Stakes, and the first since Nellie Morse in 1924. Rachel Alexandra held off the late rush of Kentucky Derby victor Mine That Bird to secure the win.
May 17, 1875: America’s oldest continuously held sporting event, the Kentucky Derby, was first run. The race was won by Aristides, who was ridden and trained by African Americans Oliver Lewis and Ansel Williamson, respectively. The day marked the opening of Churchill Downs; an estimated 10,000 spectators witnessed the first Derby.
May 17, 1881: James Rowe Sr., then age 24, became the youngest trainer to saddle a Kentucky Derby winner after Hindoo took the 7th Derby for his owners, brothers Phil and Mike Dwyer, both notorious gamblers.
May 17, 1915: Rhine Maiden, in winning the Preakness Stakes, produced the only Kentucky Derby-Preakness wins by fillies in the same year. The 1915 Derby was won by Regret, who did not compete in the Preakness.
May 17, 1930: Two-year-old Equipoise gave owner C.V. Whitney his first stakes victory when he captured the Keene Memorial Stakes at Belmont Park at odds of 3-5.
May 17, 1947: Seabiscuit, owned by Charles S. Howard, succumbed to a heart attack at Ridgewood Ranch in Willits, Calif. He was 14.
May 17, 1976: Sixteen-year-old Steve Cauthen rode his first winner, Thomas Bischoff-trained Red Pipe, in the eighth race at River Downs. By the end of his first year of apprenticeship, Cauthen had won 240 races from 1,170 mounts and $1.2 million in purses.
May 18, 1931: Fifteen-year-old Eddie Arcaro rode his first race, finishing sixth, at Bainbridge Park, Ohio. At year’s end, he remained winless after 36 tries.
May 18, 1935: The Seagram family won the Queen’s Plate stakes (then called the King’s Plate), a record 20th time. From 1891-1898, the Seagrams’ horses won the Plate every year.
May 18, 1957: Eddie Arcaro set the record for most number of Preakness Stakes wins by a jockey, six, when he rode Bold Ruler to victory for Wheatley Stable.
May 18, 1968: Judy Johnson became the first female trainer to saddle a horse for the Preakness Stakes. Her horse, Sir Beau, finished seventh in a field of 10.
May 18, 1968: Calumet Farm set the record for most number of wins in the Preakness Stakes by an owner, seven, when Forward Pass won the race by six lengths.
May 18, 1985: Patricia Cooksey became the first female jockey to compete in the Preakness Stakes. Her mount, Tajawa, finished sixth in a field of 11.
May 18, 1996: Jockey Pat Day won his third consecutive Preakness Stakes and his fifth Preakness overall, after riding Louis Quatorze to victory. The win, for trainer Nick Zito, snapped the Triple Crown race win-streak of trainer D. Wayne Lukas, which had run to six, beginning with the 1994 Preakness, won by Tabasco Cat.
May 18, 1998: Trainer Aimee Hall saddled four winners from five starters at Suffolk Downs, with all of the winners being ridden by her husband, Jose Caraballo. The wins are believed to be the first involving a married couple as jockey and trainer.
May 19, 1961: Jockey Bill Shoemaker notched his 4,000th career win aboard Guaranteeya at Hollywood Park.
May 19, 1964: Jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. won his first race, aboard Huelen, riding at Presidente Remon in Panama.
May 19, 1973: Secretariat’s winning performance in the Preakness Stakes was marred by a controversy over the timing of the race. The original teletimer time was 1:55 for the 1 3/16-mile race; Pimlico amended it to 1:54 2/5 two days later.
May 19, 1999: Secretariat was honored as the 35th greatest athlete of the 20th Century by ESPN’s SportsCentury, a series of programs profiling the top athletes of the past 100 years. Secretariat was the only non-human to make the top 50.
May 20, 1916: In an unprecedented sweep, Mandarin, Gala Water and Gala Day finished first, second and third, respectively, in the King’s Plate at Woodbine for their owner, distiller Joseph Emm Seagram. Three days later, Mandarin and Gala Water again finished one-two, this time in the Breeders’ Stakes.
May 20, 1941: Seventeen days after his Kentucky Derby win and 10 days after his Preakness victory, Whirlaway raced against older horses for the first time. Carrying 108 pounds, Whirlaway defeated his four rivals in the Henry of Navarre Purse at Belmont Park.
May 20, 1954: At odds of 13-1, Rex Ellsworth’s two-year-old colt Swaps won his maiden race by three lengths at Hollywood Park.
May 20, 1973: Having won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, Secretariat shipped from Pimlico to New York in preparation for the Belmont Stakes, final jewel in the Triple Crown.
May 20, 1977: Two-year-old John Henry won his first start ever, a four-furlong maiden race at Jefferson Downs, by a nose. When he was retired in 1984, the gelding had 39 wins, 15 seconds and nine thirds from 83 starts, seven Eclipse Awards and earnings of $6,597,947.
May 20, 2006: Barbaro, the 2006 Kentucky Derby winner, suffered a life-threatening right hind leg injury shortly after the start of the Preakness Stakes.
May 21, 1978: John Henry made his first start for Dotsam Stable, winning a $25,000 claiming race at Aqueduct.
May 21, 1992: Jockey Gary Stevens registered his 3,000th winner in the fifth race at Hollywood Park, aboard Sharp Event.
May 21, 2005: A record crowd of 115,318 witnessed Afleet Alex stumble badly at the quarter-pole, regain his balance under jockey Jeremy Rose and win the Preakness Stakes over Scrappy T by 4 ¾ lengths.
May 21, 2006: Dr. Dean Richardson and a team of doctors operated on Barbaro the day after he suffered a life threatening injury in the Preakness. Richardson fused Barbaro’s right-hind leg with 27 screws and a metal plate, then fitted his shattered leg into a cast.
May 22, 1974: Locust Hill Farm’s Ruffian won her first start, a maiden race for two-year-old fillies, by 15 lengths at Belmont Park. Sent off at odds of 4-1, Ruffian completed the 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.
May 23, 1936: Rushaway, ridden by John Longden, won his second derby in as many days, taking the 1 1/4-mile Latonia Derby at Latonia in Covington, Ky. Rushaway had won the 1 1/8-mile Illinois Derby, run at Aurora, outside Chicago, the previous day.
May 23, 1992: Jockey Jacinto Vasquez had his 5,000th career winner, aboard Susan Pixum, at Calder Racecourse.
May 24, 1905: Harry Payne Whitney’s Tanya became the second filly to win the Belmont Stakes. Ruthless was the first filly to win the Belmont, in 1867, and Rags to Riches accomplished the feat in 2007. Whitney also won the Kentucky Derby with a filly, Regret, in 1915.
May 24, 1977: At odds of 13-1, Louis and Patrice Wolfson’s two-year-old colt Affirmed won his maiden race by 4 1/2 lengths at Belmont Park, ridden by jockey Bernie Gonzalez.
May 25, 1991: Jockey Steve Cauthen won his fourth European derby, the Derby Italiano, with Hailsham, trained by Clive Brittain. Cauthen has also won the Epsom Derby twice, the Irish Derby and the French Derby, in addition to his Kentucky Derby win with Affirmed.
May 27, 1823: A $20,000 match race between American Eclipse (representing The North) and Henry (representing The South) was held at Union Course, Long Island. Eclipse won in two-of-three heats, after his original jockey, William Crafts, was replaced by Samuel Purdy before the second heat. The race, witnessed by 60,000 spectators, was the first to have been timed by split-second chronometers, which were imported for the event.
May 27, 1878: The entire field of Preakness Stakes horses—three—was owned by a single family, the brothers George and Pierre Lorillard. George’s horses finished first and third.
May 27, 1882: Trainer Robert Walden won his fifth consecutive Preakness Stakes, with Vanguard. Walden won a total of seven Preaknesses, a record for a trainer.
May 27, 1981: Bill Shoemaker became the first jockey in racing history to win 8,000 races when he rode War Allied to victory in the first race at Hollywood Park.
May 27, 1985: Under jockey Laffit Pincay Jr., odds-on favorite Spend a Buck defeated Creme Fraiche by a neck to win the Jersey Derby and earn $2.6 million, the largest single purse in American racing history. Two million dollars of the purse came from a bonus to Spend a Buck for winning the Cherry Hill Mile, the Garden State Stakes, the Kentucky Derby and the Jersey Derby. Angel Cordero Jr., the regular rider of Spend a Buck, was committed to ride Track Barron in the Metropolitan Handicap in New York on the same day and was persuaded to give up his mount in the Jersey Derby. Track Barron finished third in the Metropolitan, earning $40,620.
May 28, 1997: Visa USA and Triple Crown Productions announced that they had increased the bonus for winning the Triple Crown to a total of $5 million.
May 28, 2000: Jockey Edgar Prado registered his 4,000th career victory aboard Thunder Breeze in the second race at Belmont Park.
May 29, 1897: Scottish Chieftain, owned by Marcus Daly, became the only Montana bred to win the Belmont Stakes.
May 29, 1907: Colin began his undefeated career, breaking his maiden by two lengths at Belmont Park.
May 29, 1946: Two-year-old fillies Chakoora and Uleta became the first Thoroughbreds to complete a transcontinental flight. They were flown from New York to Inglewood, Calif., by the American Air Express Corporation, for a 2,446-mile trip that lasted 20 hours due to adverse weather conditions.
May 30, 1903: Flocarline became the first filly to win the Preakness Stakes.
May 30, 1908: Jockey Joe Notter misjudged the finish of the Belmont Stakes and eased up on his mount, Colin, whose career record to that point was 13-for-13. Notter barely recovered from his mistake to hold off the drive of Fair Play, who came within a head of defeating Colin. When he retired, Colin’s record stood at 15 wins in as many starts.
May 30, 1936: Omaha, the Triple Crown winner of 1935, won the Queens Plate at Kempton Park, England, for owner William Woodward.
May 30, 1941: Hollywood Park introduced the “vibrationless camera,” developed by Hollywood cameraman Lorenzo del Ricio. Eight patrol judges with the cameras, which were attached to their binoculars, were stationed at intervals around the track. Jockey Nunzio Pariso was the camera’s first victim—he was shown on film crowding a rival on the far turn.
May 30, 1969: Jockey Patricia Barton won her first career race, at Pikes Peak.
TUESDAY, MAY 15
Inaugural Stakes, 3yo fillies, $100,000, 6F, Presque Isle Downs
Tom Ridge Stakes, 3yo, $100,000, 6F, Presque Isle Downs
THURSDAY, MAY 17
Vanlandingham Stakes, 3&up, $90,000, 1 1-16M, Belmont Park
FRIDAY, MAY 18
Black-Eyed Susan Stakes, 3yo fillies, $300,000, Grade II, 1 1-8M, Pimlico
Pimlico Special Stakes, 3&up, $300,000, Grade III, 1 3-16M, Pimlico
Hilltop Stakes, 3yo fillies, $100,000, 1 1-16M (T), Pimlico
Black-Eyed Susan Stakes, 3yo fillies, $300,000, Grade II, 1 1-8M, Pimlico
Jim McKay Turf Sprint, 3&up, $100,000, 5F (T), Pimlico
Miss Preakness Stakes, 3yo fillies, $100,000, 6F, Pimlico
Skipat Stakes, 3&up (f&m), $100,000, 6F, Pimlico
The Very One Stakes, 3&up (f&m), $100,000, 5F (T), Pimlico
SATURDAY, MAY 19
Preakness Stakes, 3yo, $1,000,000, Grade I, 1 3-16M, Pimlico
Dixie Stakes, 3&up, $300,000, Grade II, 1 1-8M (T), Pimlico
Hendrie Stakes, 4&up (f&m), $150,000, Grade II, 6 1-2F, Woodbine
Marjorie L. Everett Handicap, 3&up (f&m), $150,000, Grade II, 1 1-16M, Betfair Hollywood Park
Gallorette Handicap, 3&up (f&m), $150,000, Grade III, 1 1-16M (T), Pimlico
Hanshin Cup Stakes, 3&up, $150,000, Grade III, 1M, Arlington Park
Allaire DuPont Distaff Stakes, 3&up (f&m), $100,000, Grade III, 1 1-16M, Pimlico
Maryland Sprint Handicap, 3&up, $100,000, Grade III, 6F, Pimlico
Railbird Stakes, 3yo fillies, $100,000, Grade III, 7F, Betfair Hollywood Park
Chick Lang Stakes, 3yo, $100,000, 6F, Pimlico
James W. Murphy Stakes, 3yo, $100,000, 1M (T), Pimlico
Elkwood Stakes, 3&up, $75,000, 1M (T), Monmouth Park
SUNDAY, MAY 20
Tiller Stakes, 3yo, $90,000, 7F (T), Belmont Park