Get Your Preak On

Preakness has music, hats and beer. And horses.

Preakness has music, hats and beer. And horses.

The Preakness Stakes, now in its 138th year, is a horse race run by thoroughbreds and held at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. If horses don’t fire your starting pistol, so to speak, there are other reasons to make the trip.

The Race: The Preakness is the second of the three races that make up the U.S. Triple Crown, horse racing’s most famous challenge. It’s preceded by the Kentucky Derby and followed by the Belmont Stakes (June 8 this year). The race starts at 6:20 p.m. and almost always takes less than two minutes.

The Party: InfieldFest is a huge, beer-soaked shindig meant to attract young people to Preakness. In past years, its mascot was a half-man, half-horse named Kegasus (though he was CLEARLY a centaur, not a winged horse), but he’s been retired. In the distant past you could bring your own keg. Lucky folks who claimed all of this year’s MUG Club tickets get unlimited beer starting at 8 a.m.

The Music: Miami rapper Pitbull is InfieldFest’s headliner, but the real draw is Seattle rapper Macklemore and producer Ryan Lewis, the team behind “Thrift Shop.” (Which is the perfect theme song for Preakness: A thrift shop is the best place to pick up a huge, gaudy, shady hat suitable for attending a horse race.) The Goo Goo Dolls will play Preakness’ opening party on Friday; the event, known as Black-Eyed Susan Day, also includes 13 less-important horse races.

Pimlico Race Course, 5201 Park Heights Ave., Baltimore; Sat., 8 a.m., $25-$150.

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