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Economic Impact of the Preakness Stakes on the Road to Consecutive Triple Crowns

18 May, 2016

By: Mary Helen Sprecher

Before American Pharoah, the last time the Thoroughbred racing world saw a Triple Crown winner, it was in a never-before-seen back-to-back win of Affirmed in 1977 and Seattle Slew in 1978.  Will this trend be repeated with consecutive wins for American Pharoah in 2015 and Nyquist in 2016? 

The Preakness Stakes, to be run this weekend in Baltimore at Pimlico Race Course, provides the next steppingstone on the path to greatness But whether Nyquist will dominate in Maryland and wind up with the wreath of black-eyed Susans is a question for the oddsmakers (and to be honest, for Nyqist himself.) In the meantime, here are some numbers to chew on:

131,000: Number of spectators the Preakness drew last year. Sadly, the race is held on one of the most outmoded facilities in the country, yet it still manages to be a world-class sports event with national broadcast rights.

$30 million: The amount of economic impact for the city the Preakness gives. (It also imparts a priceless prestige factor, according to Pressbox.)

141st: Annual running of the race.

5/2: Chance Nyquist will pull off the Triple Crown, according to Bovada.

1/4:  Chance he won’t (same source.) 

Black-eyed Susan: The official drink of the Preakness. Want to make one? Get the recipe here.

1973: Year the drink was introduced.

1:53: Fastest time the Preakness was ever run (Secretariat in 1973)

1870: First year Pimilico offered racing

$50 million: Bet on horse racing in the U.S. on a normal Saturday, according to NBC News

$150 million-plus: Bet on the Preakness alone (same source)

102,199: In 2014, this crowd of people wagered a record $19.2 million on track, with a total of $151 million bet across all sources (another record) for the Preakness (NBC News)

37: The number of years since the last horse to be a Triple Crown winner (in 2015, when American Pharaoh took what seemed to have become an almost illusory title).

1977 and 1978: The last time there was a back-to-back Triple Crown win, with Seattle Slew ('77) and Affirmed ('78)

And as long as you're pursuing trivia, here’s a bonus round for you: the names of all the Triple Crown winners and the years they took that prize: American Pharaoh (2015), Affirmed (1978), Seattle Slew (1977), Secretariat (1973), Citation (1948), Assault (1946), Count Fleet (1943), Whirlaway (1941), War Admiral (1937), Omaha (1935), Gallant Fox (1930) and Sir Barton (1919). There. Go memorize them all, then spew ‘em back and make your friends buy you a round of black-eyed Susans at the bar.

As the nation turns its eyes toward Pimlico Race Track this weekend, Baltimore is looking to beef up its image across the nation. With last year’s media coverage of riots and civil unrest, the city is happy to focus all that attention on big hats, silly yellow drinks and a whole lot of economic impact.

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