first published in the May 2023 Equiery

The 148th running of the Preakness Stakes will take place on May 20 at Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore. Preakness Day is the biggest racing day in Maryland, and the Preakness festivities start a week earlier with plenty to do and see during the entire Preakness meet.

Art of Racing Winner
This year’s winner of the Art of Racing contest is Justin Johnson. His illustration entitled “The Face of Victory” combines the Maryland flag, a blanket of Black-Eyed Susans and the Woodlawn Vase all within a striking graphic of a racehorse’s face.

Johnson’s illustration was selected by a panel of judges from 207 submissions. The winning artwork was announced during a ceremony on April 11 at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore.

As the winner, Johnson receives a $4,000 stipend and two tickets to this year’s Preakness. In addition, his illustration will be reproduced on Preakness 148 merchandise. Proceeds from the sale will be used to support the activities of the Park Heights Renaissance organization, which pursues affordable housing for families and employment opportunities for the people of Park Heights.

Sunrise Tours
For over 30 years, the Maryland Jockey Club has invited guests to see behind the curtain through its annual Sunrise Tours. Guests get to walk through the paddock, stand in the winner’s circle and meet jockeys, farriers, and more.

We highly recommend getting to the track early and spending some time rail side watching as Preakness contenders and others racing that week train. Stay tuned to to meet this year’s Sunrise Tour Guides!

Mother’s Day at the Races
Celebrate Mother’s Day in style at Pimlico on May 14 with a special Mother’s Day at the Races event package. The day includes delicious food, a welcome drink, Mother’s Day giveaways and of course… live racing!
This is a ticketed event and fills up fast. See for more details and to book your reservation.

Bruno Mars Headlines Preakness LIVE
In 2022, the traditional Infield Fest evolved into a reimagined Preakness LIVE experience which added a more local Baltimore flare to the music festival. This year, Preakness LIVE has added 24-karat magic with the return of Bruno Mars as the headliner of the day. Mars first graced the Preakness stage in 2012. Eleven years and fourteen Grammys later, Mars will be performing on the main stage after the last race of the day. Other musical guests include Grammy-nominated SOFI TUKKER, DJ Chantel Jeffries, Martin 2 Smooth and more.

The main stage itself has been relocated this year to allow for a better view of the finish line and winner’s circle. Also new this year is extended hours to accommodate for the late performance time for Bruno Mars.

There will also be a new 1/ST Sportsbook shaded structure along the homestretch, and racetrack viewing areas with bleacher seating. Also new this year is the Platinum VIP Tent in the infield.

Returning to Preakness LIVE this year is the infield art garden featuring works by local artists painted on shipping containers provided by Ports America Chesapeake in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Art & Culture. Artwork from this year’s Art of Racing will also be displayed in different areas of the infield and grandstand.

Baltimore-based restaurants will line the infield with local favorites in pop-up style food booths. New this year is the inclusion of local culinary offerings in various tents through the catering of Atlas Restaurant Group and Ridgewells. Hiatus Cheescake, founded by Baltimore’s Matthew Featherstone will be providing desserts for Preakness Day guests.

Infield tickets can be purchased here:

George “Spider” Anderson Preakness Music & Arts Festival
On May 13, Park Heights Renaissance will sponsor and present the second annual community-based George “Spider” Anderson Preakness Music & Arts Festival. The festival honors the first African American jockey to win the Preakness Stakes, George “Spider” Anderson, who won in 1889.

Maryland Horse Council member City Ranch will be participating in the Festival again this year. City Ranch is a nonprofit that is “dedicated to providing accessible and affordable horseback riding that develops positive character in children through the joys and responsibilities of horsemanship.” City Ranch serves Baltimore City and surrounding counties with lessons, workshops, therapy riding and horse care. City Ranch also sponsors the all-Black Charm City Polo Club. At the Festival, they will have on display information about the history of African Americans in the development of the equine industry in the U.S. They plan to have several interactive stations set up such as a grooming station and polo and jumping demonstrations. In addition, there will be free pony rides for children.

The day-long festival takes place in the 4700 block of Park Heights Avenue and includes live music, arts and crafts and local food trucks to highlight community businesses and partners.