BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Only two more days until the 139th running of the Preakness Stakes. Before the big race comes Black-Eyed Susan Day.
Linh Bui has more on the festivities.
Black-Eyed Susan Day gets more popular every year. On Friday, one race really stands out.
Maryland jockey Andrea Seefeldt Knight chases a win
“Nothing compares to that. That’s the best high you’ll ever get. It’s just incredibly thrilling,” she said.
She’s the first woman to win the Pennsylvania Derby and one of three female jockeys to ride in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. But getting her start was not easy.
“If a trainer came up and said, ‘I’ve got a horse for you, this is a girl’s horse,’ well, that meant he’s crazy and he’s lame and the boys don’t want to ride him,” she said.
After a groundbreaking career, she’s coming out of retirement for this year’s Lady Legends for the Cure–an elite group of retired female jockeys’ race for Susan G. Komen.
This is the fifth and final year for the Lady Legends race, which is always a big draw on Black-Eyed Susan Day.
“It’s been a great run. They’re wonderful people–they’re effervescent, they’re great with the press, they’re great ambassadors for us,” said Tom Chuckas, president of the Maryland Jockey Club.
Lady Legends is just part of the fun Friday. There’s the drinks, the pink and plenty more races.
“It’s a great lead-in to Preakness Day. We try to target kind of a different demographic,” Chuckas said. “We believe the women’s element is significantly undervalued and under-appreciated. Truthfully, they make 90 percent of the decisions in life.”
And pioneers like Seefeldt Knight paved the way for today’s female riders. Rosie Napravnik is racing in the Preakness after getting her start in Maryland. The sport has come a long way.
“To see these women… the fights that we went through to get to where it is. It’s such a great feeling to see that we’re accepted now,” Seefeldt Knight said.
Organizers call Black-Eyed Susan Day the ultimate girls day out. There will be breakfast, zumba, a fashion show, racing and a concert featuring the Counting Crows and The Fray.
Organizers expect between 40,000 to 50,000 people at this year’s Black-Eyed Susan Day. Attendance has tripled in the past three or four years.
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