While wearing hats is a very well-known tradition during the Kentucky Derby, it’s also the fashion choice for the Preakness. Make sure you have a lovely hat that makes a statement and your best summer lawn-party outfit before you hit the track, and if it fits a black-and-yellow theme for Baltimore’s city colors, all the better.
Just like the Mint Julep for the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness has a signature cocktail. The Black-Eyed Susan takes its name from the Maryland state flower, has been around for many years, and is the official drink of the Preakness since 1973. While some recipes call for vodka and rum, rye whiskey will make it have a little more Maryland flavor.
If you want more rye whiskey, check out the new Sagamore Distillery. The visitors center is open every day, and they have tours daily that explore the history of rye whiskey in Maryland and how they are bringing the tradition back. Around Preakness, you can check out their Triple Crown tours, which feature tastings of cocktails from the Triple Crown races.
Get ready for the Preakness weekend at the Mt. Washington Tavern! On the Wednesday before the race, a party with drink and food supports the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance. The Mt. Washington Tavern is a mainstay in the area for great seafood, including seasonal favorites like oysters and soft-shell crabs.
While the Preakness is the most well-known race that takes place at Pimlico, the day before is the Black-Eyed Susan. While the Preakness is open to fillies, colts, and geldings, this race is an all-female horse race. There’s no infield party during the Black-Eyed Susan day, but tickets in the grandstand are much more affordable. And it’s become an event where female friends go to the track.
If you can’t make it to any of the races and still want to experience a little bit of Pimlico, check out the Sunrise Tours at Old Hilltop. From 6 am to 9 am on Tuesday through Friday before the Preakness, you can get a free guided tour of the grandstand, stables, and track from experts who’ll share special stories about Pimlico.
If horse racing isn’t really your thing at all, go to the Crab Derby at Lexington Market. The market is famous for delicious crab cakes, and one day a year, the debate is not about who has the best crab cakes, but who has the fastest crabs. Celebrities choose a crab and try to coax it over the finish line, with prize money being donated to the charity of the winner’s choosing. The party also has food and drink vendors.