Thoroughbred racing may be the sport of kings, but the Triple Crown belongs to everyone.

The three jewels of the Triple Crown are the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes. "Triple Crown fever," a sort of happy madness that strikes racing fans early in May every year, will be running rampant around here by May 15, when the 106th Preakness runs at Pimlico.

The happy inevitable consequence of "Triple Crown fever" is a gathering of racing fans for food and drink.

Food and service can be casual, and a few Maryland standbys like ham and chicken and hominy seem appropriate. So when friends gather for a Preakness party and fan the flame of Triple Crown fever, here are some sure bets to place before them.

DEVILS ON HORSEBACK (Makes 24) 24 pieces toast (about 1-by-3 inches) 24 boneless, skinless sardines 24 narrow strips bacon, partially cooked Lemon wedges

On each piece of toast, place a sardine. Top each with a small piece of bacon. Place on broiler rack and broil slowly until bacon is browned. Garnish with lemon wedges. Serve hot.

CHEESE PIMIENTO CHILI SANDWICHES (10 servings) 1 pound longhorn cheese, grated 4-ounce can chopped green chilies (hot) 2-ounce can chopped pimiento 1 cup chopped pecans 1/2 cup chopped ripe olives 3 tablespoons salad dressing (or mayonnaise) Sandwich bread

Mix all ingredients except bread together until they reach a spreadable consistency. Use as spread for open-face or covered sandwiches. (Mixture may be prepared ahead of time.)

CHICKEN MARYLAND (4 servings) 1 young chicken, about 2 1/2 pounds 1 cup flour 2 teaspoons salt 1/8 teaspoon pepper 1 egg, beaten 1 tablespoon milk 1 cup bread crumbs 1/4 pound butter, melted

Cut up chicken as for frying. Put flour, salt and pepper in large paper sack. Add all the chicken pieces and shake, coating each piece. Dip each piece in egg and milk and roll in bread crumbs. Place in a roaster. Pour melted butter over chicken. Cover and bake in 325-degree oven for 25 minutes. Turn each piece carefully, then re-cover and bake another 20 minutes. Remove to platter.

(Note: To make gravy in roaster, add 3 tablespoons flour, 1 1/2 cups milk or light cream, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring, until thickened.)

MARINATED COLESLAW (6 to 8 servings) 1 medium head cabbage, chopped 3 medium onions, chopped 3/4 cup vinegar 1/4 cup sugar 1/2 cup salad oil 3/4 teaspoon celery seed 3/4 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon dry mustard

Alternate layers of cabbage and onions in a bowl. In a saucepan bring to a boil the vinegar, sugar and salad oil. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients. Drizzle over cabbage and toss. Marinate at least 4 hours. Toss again before serving. (This cole slaw will keep in the refrigerator several days.)

HOT WEATHER HOMINY CASSEROLE (8 servings) 2 20-ounce cans hominy, drained 3 tablespoons grated onions 1 1/2 cups sour cream 1 1/2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese 4-ounce can chopped green chilies Salt to taste 1/2 cup fine bread crumbs

Mix all ingredients together except bread crumbs. Pour into a greased casserole and sprinkle bread crumbs on top. Bake in 350-degree oven 30 minutes.

GRATED SWEET POTATO PUDDING (8 servings) 1/2 cup butter 4 cups raw sweet potatoes, grated 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 teaspoon cloves 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 cup milk 1 cup dark cane syrup 1/2 cup chopped nuts 1 teaspoon allspice 1 cup raisins (optional) 3 eggs, beaten

Melt butter in heavy iron skillet in oven. In a bowl, mix all ingredients, adding eggs last. Pour mixture into hot pan of butter and mix well. Bake in 350-degree oven for 45 minutes, stirring twice.

MARINADE FOR ASPARAGUS (Enough for 2 pounds cooked asparagus spears) 1 1/2 cups salad oil 3/4 cup white vinegar 1 1/2 teaspoons celery seed 2 1/2 tablespoons capers and juice 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil 4 to 5 bay leaves Dash of hot pepper sauce 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Mix all ingredients together thoroughly, and pour marinade over cooked asparagus. (This is also good for marinating cooked shrimp and onion rings, or tomatoes and onion rings.)

BRAGGIN' BREAD (Makes 12 cornsticks or muffins) 1 cup yellow cornmeal 1 tablespoon flour 1 teaspoon salt 1 to 1 1/4 cups boiling water 1 tablespoon shortening 2 egg yolks, beaten until light 2 egg whites, beaten stiff but not dry

Mix cornmeal, flour and salt. Stir water gradually into cornmeal, adding enough to make mixture the consistency of thick mush. Mix until smooth. Add shortening. Cool.

Add egg yolks; fold in egg whites. Bake in hot buttered muffin pan or cornstick irons in 425-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

MULE EAR COOKIES (Makes about 5 dozen) 1 cup granulated sugar 1 cup (scant) shortening, melted 1/2 teaspoon cloves 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon soda 1 cup molasses 1 egg 1/2 teaspoon ginger 1/2 teaspoon salt 3 1/2 cups flour

Thoroughly mix all ingredients except flour, adding that a little at a time and mixing thoroughly after each addition until a dough is formed. Roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness. With a knife cut into 1-by-2-inch rectangles. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes on a greased cookie sheet.