5 fastest Preakness Stakes times in the history of the Triple Crown race in Baltimore, Maryland

The Preakness Stakes is a historic race that dates back to 1873. That initial race was won by Survivor. 

The Preakness Stakes is the second race of the Triple Crown series. To date, there have been 13 Triple Crown winners. The most recent was when Justify won in 2018. 

Records could be shattered during any race, but accomplishing the feat is difficult to do. Several of the horses who have the fastest Preakness times in history have held onto their records for decades. 

A photo of Secretariat winning the Preakness Stakes and a close up photo on the right in a circle of the horse

Secretariat holds the record for the fastest times for all three Triple Crown races.  (Jerry Cooke/Corbis via Getty Images; Focus On Sport/Getty Images)


Below are the five fastest Preakness Stakes times in history. 

  1. Secretariat (1973)
  2. Swiss Skydiver (2020)
  3. Tank’s Prospect (1985)
  4. Louis Quatorze (1996)
  5. Curlin (2007) 

Widely considered the greatest racehorse in the history of the sport, Secretariat holds the crown for the fastest record at the Preakness Stakes. 

Secretariat became the first horse in more than two decades to win the Triple Crown in 1973 and did so with record-setting finishes at the biggest events in U.S. horse racing.

In May 1973, Secretariat started the Preakness race off in last but showed the abilities of his speed with a burst of momentum that placed him in the lead. 

Secretariat running past crowd during race

Secretariat is widely known as one of the greatest racehorses of all time.  (Jerry Cooke/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)

Secretariat maintained the top spot all the way to the finish line while setting a record finish of 1:53 at Pimlico Race Course. The performance left spectators shocked and helped the fame and reputation of Secretariat to skyrocket.


However, for decades, the official record set by Secretariat remained miscalculated at 1:54 2/5. 

In 2012, the record was officially corrected after a forensic review of tapes discovered the race timer had failed to properly keep track of the time. 

Secretariat was inducted into racing’s Hall of Fame in 1974. 

In recent years, one of the racehorses to come closest to the record set by Triple Crown winner Secretariat at the Preakness Stakes was Swiss Skydiver in October 2020. 

The race was held five months later than its original start date due to the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing Swiss Skydiver to mature for several more months before competing.

Swiss Skydiver at the Preakness Stakes

Swiss Skydiver is one of six fillies to win the Preakness Stakes.  (Kenneth K. Lam/The Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

The female horse took command of the course by defeating Kentucky Derby champion Authentic with the second-best time in the history of the race at 1:53.10. 

Initially, Skydiver maintained her speed during the start of the race. In the final stretch, she was nose to nose with the Derby champion. The race ended in a photo finish, with Swiss Skydiver ultimately taking the win. 


To date, there have only been six female horses to ever win the Preakness Stakes.

Tank’s Prospect set the third-best time at the Preakness Stakes in 1985 when he beat favorite Chief’s Crown by a head in a time of 1:53.4. 

Tank’s Prospect fell to the back of the pack for the majority of the race. However, in the last minute, he broke out in a sprint and finished as a winner to set a Preakness record.

The young horse did not perform well in the first leg of the Triple Crown series, running in seventh at the Kentucky Derby.

Tank’s Prospect’s racing career ended with an injury at the Belmont Stakes. 

Coming in at No. 4 is Louis Quatorze, known for his fast-paced victory in the 1996 Preakness Stakes, where he finished with a time of 1:53.43.

Previously, the young horse had a disastrous finish weeks prior during the Kentucky Derby, coming in 16th place. However, his victory at the Preakness helped solidify his racing legacy.

Louis Quatorze Preakness Stakes

Louis Quatorze maintained a strong lead for most of the race he won in 1996. (Ted Mathias/AFP via Getty Images)

Louis Quatorze broke out of the gate with impressive speed and was able to take and maintain a lead early during the race. 

He held onto his lead for much of the race, making him the 1996 Preakness Stakes champion and one of the fastest to run the race to date. 

No. 5 at the Pimlico racetrack is Curlin.

The stallion’s story is another example of a racehorse taking the victory at the Preakness after being behind at the start of the event. 

In the May 2007 race, from the 20-second to the one-minute mark of the race, Curlin dropped 13 lengths behind first place but rallied to defeat Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense.

Curlin finished in 1:53.46. 

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