The following appeared on Bloodhorse.com.
While the 2019 Preakness Stakes (G1) field lacked any of the first four horses to reach the wire in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1), horseplayers had plenty of interest in the Baltimore classic.
Perhaps the debate that followed the disqualification of Maximum Security from victory in the Derby brought more interest to the Preakness May 18 at Pimlico Race Course as bettors turned up in force, wagering a record $99,852,653 on the 14-race card, up 2.8% from the record set in 2017 at $97,168,658 (also a 14-race card).
On-track attendance declined 2.4% this year to 131,256.
“The 144th Preakness Stakes surpassed our expectations thanks to the horsemen and fans who came to celebrate this grand Maryland tradition,” said The Stronach Group chairman and president Belinda Stronach. “It makes for an unforgettable day of entertainment when you combine the world’s top performers with the best Thoroughbred horses and jockeys at one of the most celebrated sporting events. The Preakness is second to none.”
According to the Maryland Jockey Club, the record Preakness Day followed a record-breaking Black-Eyed Susan Day March 17 at Pimlico. Total handle on Friday’s 14-race card was $22,281,300, surpassing the previous record—$19.895 million in 2017—by 12%.
Attendance was 51,573, eclipsing the 2017 record of 50,339.
“Thank you to our horsemen, talented riders, and fans for an outstanding Black-Eyed Susan Day. With record handle and attendance, this is an incredible way to kick off Preakness weekend,” said The Stronach Group CEO Tim Ritvo. “Our team has worked tirelessly to deliver an amazing entertainment experience.”