On The Town

Best Ways to Party for Preakness 2018

Celebrate the middle jewel with crab races, jockey meet-ups, and breakfast buses.

There’s no better way to saddle up for summer than by celebrating the 143rd annual Preakness Stakes on May 19. Whether into pre-parties, balloon festivals, crab races, or fashions shows, there are plenty of ways to help welcome the famous thoroughbreds back for the biggest race in Maryland where they’ll compete for the middle jewel of the Triple Crown.

Off to the Races

Hi Ho Pimlico Spring Fashion Show
5/10:Complete with a lunch buffet, pop-up shops, races, and all things derby fashion, this spring fashion show is held to recognize women within the Maryland horse industry. Plus, a portion of the day’s proceeds will go towards The Foxie G Foundation, a nonprofit specializing in horse and cat rescue, and YOLT, a local charity that encourages organ donations. Preakness Stakes, 5201 Park Heights Ave., 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., $98, 877-206-8042 

Sunrise Tours at Old Hilltop
5/15-5/18: Watch the sunrise from the Pimlico Grandstand and then get a morning glimpse of the Preakness life from behind the scenes as you tour the stable area, where you’ll most likely find trainers, owners, jockeys, and other VIPs. Preakness Stakes, 5201 Park Heights Ave., 6-9 a.m., Free, 410-542-9400

Alibi Breakfast
5/17: If you missed them during the sunrise tours, you can still meet Preakness horse owners, trainers, and jockeys during the pre-race breakfast event as they share the journey of trying to become the next thoroughbred champ. Preakness Stakes, 5201 Park Heights Ave., 9:30 a.m., $50, 410-542-9400

Black-Eyed Susan Race
5/18: What better way to ring in Preakness day than by celebrating all-girls style? Enjoy a seminar featuring renowned female racing analysts and of course, watch the finest 3-year-old fillies trek some dirt. Preakness Stakes, 5201 Park Heights Ave., 9 a.m., $40-$385, 410-542-9400

Budweiser InfieldFest 2018
5/19: View all the Preakness excitement right from the middle of the racetrack where you’ll be able to enjoy a pre-party with Post Malone, ODESZA, 21 Savage, Frank Walker, and DJ Vice, all the while getting your grub and drink on. Since this year marks the festival’s 10th anniversary, Budweiser promises to deliver the most elevated experience yet. Preakness Stakes, 5201 Park Heights Ave., 11 a.m.-9 p.m., $100-$155, 410-542-9400

Preakness Stakes at the Pimlico Race Course
5/19: Whether lounging in the Concourse, Grandstand, or Clubhouse, grab your fancy hats and sports coats and come out to watch the best of the best compete for the 173rd Preakness title. Preakness Stakes, 5201 Park Heights Ave., 6-9 p.m., $40-$720, 410-542-9400

Preakness Parties

Triple Crown Cocktail Hour
4/25, 5/9, 5/23, 6/6: Relish in an exclusive Wednesday-only cocktail series (that lasts through June) with Sagamore Spirit, where you’ll be to enjoy a guided sampling of all three craft spirits featured at the Triple Crown races, get a tour of the distillery, and a learn how to make your own specialty cocktails at home. Sagamore Spirit, 301 E. Cromwell St., 6-7 p.m., $25, 410-624-7488

Mt. Washington Tavern’s America’s Best Racing Preakness Party
5/16: Join this neighborhood bar as it hosts its 5th annual Preakness party in honor of the biggest racing week of the year. Expect specialty drinks, snack platters, a raffle to win tickets to the stakes, a silent auction to benefit Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance—a Kentucky-based nonprofit that supports retired thoroughbreds—and the chance to buy some hats, clothes, and official racing memorabilia. The Mt. Washington Tavern, 5700 Newbury St., 7-10 pm., $15, 410-367-6903

Off to the Races! 2018 Preakness Party
5/18: Put on your Preakness best and join Horseshoe Casino Baltimore for a fundraising cocktail party that will feature signature drinks, a cash bar, delectable snacks, slots, music, a fashion show, and a chance to win prizes. Proceeds will go towards sending local youths to summer programs, and make sure you get your picture taken with a jockey. Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, 1525 Russell St., 7-11 p.m., $75, 410-878-0562

Preakness Sunset Derby Day Party
5/19: Ditch the stakes and celebrate Preakness day with seersuckers, sundresses, smooth jazz, DJs, specialty drinks, a VIP open lounge bar, a food buffet, and live horse race betting at the Laurel Park turf club. Laurel Park, 198 Laurel Race Track Rd., 4-10 p.m., $25-$400, 202-681-6380

Family Fun

The Preakness Balloon Festival
5/11-5/13: Hop aboard one of the 25 hot air balloons featured at this annual Preakness celebration that also includes a beer and wine garden, Maryland’s finest vendors, local food, live music, a kid zone, and a balloon glow after dusk. Plus, there’s a Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest that will earn the winner a ticket to Coney Island for the final throwdown on July 4th. Howard County Fairgrounds, 2210 Fairgrounds Rd., times vary, 410-580-5231

2018 Crab Derby
5/17: To ring in Preakness weekend, watch your beloved crustacean friends contend for the Faidley/Devine Cup as they race one another at Lexington Market’s annual Crab Derby. Expect an evening of laughter, live reggae music, food from Baltimore’s most iconic vendors, games, and family fun. Lexington Market, 400 W. Lexington St., 4-8 p.m., $8-$49, 410-685-6169

Preakness Party
5/19: Join Columbia Horse Center—a horse racing barn in Laurel—for the ultimate family-friendly Preakness Party in town, where you can cheer on your favorite instructors as they go head-to-head in a battle to the top of the hill. All the while, you can enjoy an outdoor party that will include an open grill, volleyball, and a special race for kids. Columbia Horse Center, 10400 Gorman Rd., 5-8 p.m., 301-776-5850

Breakfast and Buses

CVP Preakness Pregame/Bus Trip
5/19: Join Charles Village Pub for a laid back pre-Preakness party that will feature bottomless drink specials and a continental breakfast. Then, hop on the bus and head to the stakes for the race. Charles Village Pub Towson, 19 W. Pennsylvania Ave., 8-10 a.m., $25-$30, 410-821-8155

Turtle Preakness Bus
5/19: Skip out on the parking hassle and take advantage of another bus deal that’ll get you to and from Pimlico. The ride will feature all-you-can-drink Greene Turtle beers and snacks, and there’s a mini pre-party at the restaurant if you get there early enough. The Greene Turtle in Towson, 408 York Road, 8:30 a.m., $30, 410-825-3980