Tradition – Maryland

The Preakness Stakes

The Preakness Stakes, which originated in 1873, is a race for three-year-old thoroughbred horses.  It is held on the third Saturday in May every year at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland.  The winner of the race traditionally receives a horseshoe of black-eyed susans, which is Maryland’s state flower.  Because of this, the Preakness Stakes is often referred to as “The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans.”  This race is the second and shortest of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred racing, and usually coins the Kentucky Derby winner.  The Belmont Stakes is the race following the Preakness.  My informant grew up going to the Preakness Stakes every year.  When he was a growing up he would attend with his parents, however for the last 5 years he has been going with a large group of friends.

On the day of the race, Kevin and all of his friends go to one guys house at 7 in the morning, where they begin to drink and party.  From there, a bus picks them up at 9.  All of the people load onto the buses, where they continue to drink and party with each other.  The racetrack, Pimlico, is about a 45 minutes drive.  When they get there, everyone unloads and walks onto the infield, which is just a huge field crowded with tailgates and jam packed with people.  Everyone brings their own booze, usually about one 30 pack of beer per person.  People all gather around, and post up in a designated spot where they hang out all day.  Throughout the day, there is a lot of drinking that occurs while everyone watches the horse races.  Kevin says, “the event is also fun because they get to meet a lot of funny ‘red-neck’ people.”  Additionally, all of Kevin’s high school friends show up to the race.  Local college students go to Preakness as well.

This event enables Kevin to identify with the folkgroup of Maryland citizens.  Preakness always happen in Maryland, meaning it is an event that most Maryland residents can identify with.  It is also a special day because it unites Kevin with all of his friends from high school.  While they are all away at colleges all over the country, they look forward to Preakness, where they will all get to bond.

Preakness in Maryland relates a lot to different folklore in Long Beach, where I am from.  For example, we have the same kind of experience on the fourth of July and for the Grand Prix car race.  These events unite groups of people and enable them to establish a feeling of nationalism.  There is folklore from all parts of the country that parallel very closely.

Annotation: “Preakness Stakes.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 26 Apr. 2007  <>.