The Preakness is often considered the lesser of the three Triple Crown races, but that really isn't true. There are just as many traditions associated with it as with the Derby and the effort the track puts into hosting a top class event is obvious. This was our first time attending the Preakness and we enjoyed it much more than the Derby. The crowds weren't as bad (as long as you stay out of the infield which is much rowdier than at the Derby) and the atmosphere was a lot more relaxed and enjoyable. Definitely try to make it there someday if you have never been.
A tired War Emblem makes his way back from the test barn for his bath and some well deserved rest.
Meanwhile over at the stakes barn, trainer Bob Baffert hams it up for the media.
The weather vane atop the cupola being painted with the colors of the winner. This year only the number needed changed and the colors touched up.
Everywhere Baffert goes he is mobbed by reporters. This is the crush that surrounded him at the post position draw.
A view of the grandstand at Pimlico. Click the small picture to download this for a wallpaper on your desktop.
As part of the day's festivities, the flag which flew over the Pentagon during the terrorist attack on September 11th was brought in and displayed. It is being retired and will be put on display in a museum later.
The Woodlawn Vase being brought out for display in the winner's circle. The most valuable trophy in American sports, it is worth over $1 million and is the permanent trophy for the Preakness. The winning owner receives a replica to keep.
The late Seattle Slew was honored with race named for him and the trophy was presented by one of his owners, Karen Taylor, and his jockey Jean Cruguet.
The remains of the original weather vane from the old clubhouse that burned down with pictures behind it of the original building. The cupola and weather vane in the infield are replicas of the ones destroyed in the fire.
A line of jockey statues painted in the silks of the Preakness entrants sit on the saddle cloths to be used in the race. The statues were gifts for the owners at the Alibi Breakfast.
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