Speed in the Preakness

Pimlico has long been known as a speed-favoring track. The track's reputation for favoring front-runners on the rail was fully justified in the 1970s and 1980s, and the bias began to affect the Preakness' credibility. But when the late Frank J. De Francis bought Pimlico, one of his first moves was to hire a new track superintendent and instruct him to eradicate the notorious bias. For the last 20 years, the Pimlico bias has been largely a myth. If speed horses sometimes fare better in the Preakness than at Churchill Downs, it is because the field in the Preakness is smaller and the early pace less contentious. Even so, front-runners rarely win. Since 1990, the horse leading after a half mile has finished in the money only five times:

Year Horse Finish
1991 Corporate Report 2nd
1994 Go for Gin 2nd
1996 Louis Quatorze 1st
2009 Rachel Alexandra 1st
2010 First Dude 2nd

By Andrew Beyer - The Washington Post. Published May 18, 2011.