Get up early and head to Pimlico to get an up close and personal look at the horses that will race around the oval during the 140th running of the Preakness this Saturday.
Sunrise at Old Hilltop is an annual event, giving horse racing fans, and horse lovers in general, a chance to see the track, the stables, the paddock, the winners circle without all the crowds that will be there for the race. Peek into the jockeys’ room and see the Hall of Fame just before the historic middle jewel of horse racing’s Triple Crown. We came on Tuesday, the first day. Tours are offered 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. Tuesday through Friday. Friday, we hear, is the busiest of the four days.
The tours are free and although the website says they last 20 minutes, our tour was more like an hour. April was our guide and she was knowledgeable and friendly, the best kind of guide. Add stops for photos and a visit to the gift shop, you’re going to want to spend an hour or more here. It’s well worth it.
The 20-minute tours are free, on a first-come-first-serve basis. Come early to see the horses training, tour the stable area and visit the Barn. Parking for sunrise tours is in the Rogers Ave. lot, at the intersection of Northern Pkwy. and Woodcrest Ave.
Previously, I interviewed John Scheinman, a noted horse racing journalist, for an insider’s tips on going to the Preakness. Check out what he had to say.
© Text and photos Mary K. Tilghman