Unbox your spring bonnet and press your seersucker. Baltimore’s annual Preakness Stakes returns this month.

If you’re new to the world of horse racing, don’t fret. Here’s a rundown of everything you need to know ahead of the 149th Preakness Stakes.

When is Preakness?

Preakness is scheduled for Saturday. There’s a full day of racing and events, but the Preakness Stakes itself happens around 7:01 p.m. See the full schedule of races on May 18.

What is the Preakness Stakes?

Preakness represents the “middle jewel” in the Triple Crown series of thoroughbred horse racing, a distinctly American sporting event dating back more than a century.

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Trainers, jockeys and spectators convened at Churchill Downs for the first race in the Triple Crown, the Kentucky Derby, on May 4. The second race in the series, Preakness, traditionally takes place at Baltimore’s historic Pimlico Race Course. The series ends June 8 with the third, the Belmont Stakes, in New York.

Each race in the Triple Crown series comes with its own set of traditions and attractions. Preakness this year includes musical performances on the infield from Jack Harlow, Channel Tres, Chantel Jeffries, Frank Walker and Gryffin. The 100th running of the Black-Eyed Susan race, which is for fillies and named for Maryland’s state flower, traditionally takes place the Friday before Preakness.

Thirteen horses have won all three races in the Triple Crown, which is only for 3-year-old horses. Mystik Dan, the winner of the Kentucky Derby, will try for Preakness this year.

When are the set times for Preakness Live?

8 p.m. Jack Harlow

5:30 p.m. Channel Tres

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4:15 p.m. Gryffin

3:05 p.m. Frank Walker

2:15 p.m. Chantel Jeffries

12:55 p.m. Jordan Emanuel

11:15 a.m. Music begins

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Are tickets available?

Yes, but you might want to move fast because some offerings are beginning to sell out.

Ticketmaster is the only authorized seller for the Preakness Stakes, Black-Eyed Susan Day and the Preakness Weekend Package. Fans may still purchase a seat in the grandstand and the Turfside Terrace or pay for general admission access to the infield for the Preakness Live musical performances.

Event organizers are cautioning that secondary market websites selling tickets are not affiliated with Preakness and the Maryland Jockey Club, so the purchaser assumes all risks.

Children under the age of 5 do not require a ticket. However, if the kiddo you’re with wants their own seat, you’ll need to buy a ticket at full price.

Be sure to keep an eye on the weather if that’s a deal-breaker for you. Preakness takes place outdoors — though some seats are under cover — and no refunds will be issued due to rain or other weather.

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Budget-friendly tip: Pimlico offers complimentary “Sunrise Tours” ahead of Preakness on May 14-17 from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. The tours offer spectators a peek behind the scenes, including stops at the barns, jockey’s room, paddock, winner’s circle and grandstand. The tours operate on a first-come, first-served basis, so organizers recommend arriving as early as possible to secure a spot. For inquiries or additional information, email sunrisetours@marylandjockeyclub.com.

What’s the dress code?

Not unlike the Kentucky Derby, Preakness is an event to see and be seen. Celebrities, politicians and spectators usually don their finest spring attire ― from magnificent hats to pastel-colored suits.

Spectators dress in style for the 148th running of the Preakness Stakes on May 20, 2023, at Pimlico Race Course. (Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)

Dressing up isn’t mandatory. Casual attire is perfectly fine at Pimlico, though no cutoffs or tank tops are permitted in the dining area.

However, there’s a long list of items that are forbidden at Pimlico, including umbrellas, selfie sticks and certain types of bags or purses.

How to place a bet

There are three ways to bet on a race at Pimlico ― in person with a teller, at a 1/ST BET kiosk or on the 1/ST BET mobile app.

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Pimlico has put together an easy guide for the types of bets you can place.

The Maryland Racing Commission requires all winning tickets and credit vouchers to be cashed within one year of their issue date.

What should drivers know?

The Baltimore City Department of Transportation will begin closing roads and modifying traffic patterns on Friday at 5 a.m. in the northwest part of the city around Pimlico Race Course. Motorists traveling through the area may experience delays, particularly on Saturday. Officials recommend using the navigation app Waze for live detour navigation.

The department is encouraging Preakness attendees to carpool or use public transportation to travel to Pimlico.

Those who do decide to drive should park at commercial lots and avoid area neighborhoods, where parking restrictions will be strictly enforced, according to the department’s Preakness advisory. If you have questions about the location of your vehicle, call 311.

Vehicles that do get towed will be taken to Cylburn Avenue just south of Northern Parkway.

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