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Sunny day forecast ahead of 144th Preakness Stakes, but pop-up afternoon downpour can't be ruled out

By Kyle Elliott, AccuWeather meteorologist
May 18, 2019, 1:31:08 AM EDT

Weather conditions are likely to be benign for Saturday’s 144th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland.

AP Image Preakness Practice 2019

A horse warms up, Tuesday, May 14, 2019, at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. The Preakness Stakes horse race is scheduled to take place Saturday, May 18. (AP Photo/Will Newton)

The Preakness Stakes is the second leg of the Triple Crown, which begins with the Kentucky Derby and concludes with the Belmont Stakes in Elmont, New York.

In stark contrast to the 2019 Kentucky Derby, a bright and beautiful day is forecast for the Preakness Stakes. Winds should be light with a mixture of clouds and sunshine as well as seasonable temperatures.

After temperatures start out in the middle to upper 60s on Saturday morning, they will rise to near 80 by the mid-afternoon hours. By the time of the race at 6:48 p.m. EDT, temperatures should fall back into the middle 70s F.

Preak 3 pm

"There is a chance of a pop-up thunderstorm downpour wandering across the Baltimore area during the late afternoon and evening hours," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

"While the odds are against long-duration rainfall, it would be unfortunate as even a brief downpour just before or during the race could be a spoiler."

This risk is due to a stalled front nearby with cool air to the northeast and warm air to the southwest.

At this time, however, the more likely case is for sunshine and generally tranquil weather to prevail, creating an ideal setting for jockeys, staff and spectators at the race.

In lieu of any last-minute downpour, track conditions are likely to be the complete opposite of what they were for the Kentucky Derby, where heavy rain the day of the race led to sloppy and muddy track conditions.

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For the first time in the history of the Derby, the horse that crossed the finish line first, Maximum Security, was not declared the winner of the race.

Toward the end of the race, the jockey riding Maximum Security was disqualified from the race for “failure to control his mount and make the proper effort to maintain a straight course, thereby causing interference with several rivals that resulted in the disqualification of his mount,” according to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, the New York Times reported.

Due to the disqualification, Country House, the horse that crossed the finish line in second place, was declared the official winner of the race.

Mudders, or horses that run well in wet or muddy conditions, that were favored at the Kentucky Derby could face significantly lower odds at the Preakness, where track conditions should be dry.

Last year, track conditions were sloppy and muddy at the Preakness Stakes after days of heavy rain inundated the mid-Atlantic region. Rain was also falling during the race, which took place on May 19. Over one half of an inch of rain was recorded that day at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

This year, horses that run well in dry conditions could be favored if any stray downpour stays away from the track.

Download the free AccuWeather app to stay up to date on the latest Preakness forecast. Keep checking back for updates on and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.

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