The home of the Preakness Stakes opened on October 25, 1870, and the second oldest racetrack in the nation behind Saratoga, which debuted in 1864 in upstate New York. It is located at 5201 Park Heights Avenue Baltimore, Maryland United States, owned by Stronach Group. The track area is bounded by Park Heights and Winner Avenues to the west, West Rogers Avenue and West Northern Parkway to the north, Preakness Way to the east, and West Belvedere Avenue to the south.
“Pimlico” was the name given to the area by English settlers in Colonial times. Its original spelling was “Pemblicoe”, found on the original settlement charter granted to a group of Englishmen in 1669. The racetrack was also known as “Old Hilltop,” after a small rise in the infield that became trainers’ and race enthusiasts’ best choice for gathering to view the contestants at a close range. However, the notable infield “hill” was removed in April 1938 for obscuring the track-level vision of the racetrack backstretch, posing a problem for movie and television cameras in the early era of filming races.
Between 1889 and 1904, the race track went into a brief hiatus from flat racing, when the Preakness and Dixie were run at other tracks, and “outlaw” race meetings arose around Maryland. Pimlico commenced operating again in 1904, also when the public and newspapers recognized it. Race charts appeared quite similar to modern-day style, the first moment Baltimore readers found the news accounts more than mere social reports. Racing in Pimlico even survived a 1910 anti-gambling movement that swept the country, prohibiting the sport everywhere, except in Maryland and Kentucky.
The track has a one-mile dirt oval surrounding a seven-furlong (7/8 mile) turf oval. The length of the stretch from the last turn to the finish line is 1,152 feet. They have 750 betting windows, including temporary windows on Preakness Day and automated betting machines. The stable area has 665 stalls, plus tack, feed, and 132 sleeping rooms. The main grandstand capacity is 5,691, the clubhouse is 1,269, and the sports palace can accommodate 160. The dining area can also accommodate 1,806 people
Pimlico is also home to other non-racing events such as the Virgin Festival from 2006 through 2008 and Moonrise (festival), an electronic dance music festival featuring artists such as Above & Beyond, Bassnectar, and Kaskade.