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Touch of Grey: The 149th Preakness Stakes in Photos

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My favorite thing about The Preakness in Baltimore, besides the swagger and style, are the horses’ names. This year, Seize the Grey (15-1 odds) foisted a major upset on Mystik Dan (5-2), taking away chances for a Triple Crown victory. Other odd and evocative horse names this year include Mugatu (20-1), Uncle Heavy (20-1), Catching Freedom (6-1), Just Steel (15-1), and Tuscan Gold (8-1).

If you’re curious about why these names are so poetic and often silly, it’s because professional thoroughbred names are subject to strict international regulations. The International Federation of Horseracing Authorities prevent professional animals from having the same exact names, or even phonetic pronunciations.

According to CNN, these names can be no longer than 18 characters, with up to seven syllables, and they are protected for 20 years (up to 35 years if the horse goes to stud after retiring). In addition, there are a few names that are so important, they are officially retired from usage, like famous US stallion Seabiscuit, and others whose legacy has been deemed eternal.

Along with weird horse names and laying a bet, the fashion at Preakness and other Triple Crown races is oddly traditional, a pageant of who’s who in pastel suits, bowties, fancy hats, and floral dresses.

Baltimore’s Pimlico race track is due for a major facelift, and copious rain created giant mud puddles, but enthusiastic crowds, many draped in plastic ponchos, returned to Baltimore for Black Eyed Susan Day on Friday, May 17 and for the 149th Preakness Stakes on Saturday, May 18, a festival of horse people and fans of this historic event.

If you placed a bet on Seize the Grey, you did well this year with 15-1 odds against him. He upset favorite Mystik Dan, who had the chance for a Triple Crown this year. Instead, trainer D. Wayne Lukas, 88, added another Triple Crown to his expansive career, his 15th win in American racing’s premiere series and seventh at Pimlico Race Course, and a horse owned by 2570 shareholders took the crown.

Not just an athletic event, Black Eyed Susan Day and Preakness are unique and beloved, among our cultural events in Baltimore, so we hope you enjoy these photos by E. Brady Robinson.

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More photos from Black Eyed Susan Day at Pimlico by E. Brady Robinson

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