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Nineteenth-century racehorse Preakness and trainer William Lakeland elected to the Hall of Fame by Historic Review Committee

The racehorse Preakness, a 19th century standout and the namesake of the second race in the Triple Crown series, and the accomplished trainer William Lakeland have been elected to the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame by the Museum’s Historic Review Committee.


Preakness and Lakeland join Eclipse Award-winning filly Heavenly Prize in the class of 2018. They will be joined by the Pillars of the Turf Committee’s selections, which will be announced on May 23. The Museum’s executive committee approved a measure in January allowing the Pillars of the Turf Committee to select as many as 12 inductees in both 2018 and 2019 to address the significant backlog of worthy candidates, as this Hall of Fame category was established only five years ago.


The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place on Friday, Aug. 3 at 10:30 a.m. at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion. The event is open to the public and free to attend. Longtime racecaller Tom Durkin will serve as master of ceremonies.


Preakness, a foal of 1867, was bred by R. A. Alexander at the famed Woodburn Stud in Kentucky. He was purchased as a yearling by Milton H. Sanford for $4,100. A dark bay standing 16 hands when fully developed, Preakness made his debut as a 3-year-old on Oct. 25, 1870, winning the Dinner Party Stakes at the inaugural Pimlico Race Course meeting. The following year, Preakness defeated older standouts Glenelg and Helmbold in the Westchester Cup and won the Maturity Stakes and Pimlico Stakes.


In 1873, Preakness won the Jockey Club Handicap, Long Branch Stakes and beat Hall of Fame inductee Harry Bassett in both the Manhattan Handicap and Grand National Handicap at Jerome Park. Carrying 130 pounds, Preakness won the Jockey Club Stakes in 1874. In 1875, as an 8-year-old, Preakness won the Baltimore Cup at 2¼ miles in his season debut. In the 2¼-mile Saratoga Cup, Preakness met defending Saratoga Cup winner Springbok, as well as five other accomplished runners, in what Walter Vosburgh pronounced as the “greatest field of horses that ever started for this, the most famous of all of America’s long-distance fixtures.” Preakness and Springbok engaged in a desperate struggle near the finish that resulted in a dead heat. The time of 3:56¼ broke Harry Bassett’s record for the distance and stood as the standard for 23 years.


Preakness raced in England as a 9-year-old, winning once in four starts and running credibly in each. He concluded his career with a record of 18-12-2 from 39 starts and earnings of $39,820. Summarizing the career of Preakness, Turf and Sport Digest said: “It is improbable that a more courageous, stouter, or more rugged horse, enduring, consistent and, with it all, of intense speed, ever trod an American race course.” 


Born in Manchester, England, in 1853, Lakeland was a successful jockey before turning his attention to conditioning racehorses around 1877. Lakeland trained for some of the most prominent owners in the sport, including James R. Keene and Marcus Daly. His greatest successes as a trainer came with the champions Domino and Hamburg, both eventual Hall of Fame inductees.


With Domino, Lakeland won the Great American, Great Eclipse, Matron, Futurity, Great Trial, Hyde Park Handicap, Withers, Culver, Ocean Handicap, Coney Island Handicap and Sheepshead Bay Handicap, among others. Lakeland took over training duties of Hamburg at the start of the colt’s 3-year-old season of 1898. That year, Hamburg won the Spring Special, Swift Stakes, Realization Stakes and Brighton Cup.


Lakeland also won the 1894 Preakness Stakes with Assignee. He won the Coney Island Handicap four times, the Futurity three times, the Metropolitan Handicap, Brooklyn Handicap, Brighton Cup and Matron twice each. Lakeland also won single editions of the Fashion, Illinois Derby, Ohio Derby, Monmouth Handicap, Carter Handicap, Long Island Handicap, White Plains Handicap and Autumn Cup, among others.


Lakeland’s multiple stakes winners included Kimball, Bucktie, Babcock, Tea Tray, Exile, Tattler, Voter and Electioneer. He was famous for sending some of his horses out to race — and often win — multiple times on the same card. One of Lakeland’s horses, Little Reb, once achieved the incredible feat of winning three races on a single card. Lakeland died in 1914.


The Museum’s Historic Review Committee is chaired by Michael Veitch and includes Edward L. Bowen, Allan Carter, Jane Goldstein, Ken Grayson, Steve Haskin, Jay Hovdey, Carl Nafzger, Mary Simon, John von Stade and Gary West.