Racehorses with jockeys headed down the home stretch.

After Mystik Dan’s amazing, by-the-nose win at the 2024 Kentucky Derby, we’re still barely catching our breath – so we’re doubly in awe of the fact that he’s heading right back into the gate for the Preakness Stakes .

There was some question as to whether the Ocala-trained champion would actually run at Preakness; it’s happened before. Twice in the last four years, the Derby winner has opted out of the next leg in the Triple Crown stakes. It happened in 2022, in fact –  and it’s not surprising when you consider the physical challenges of running two high-endurance races back to back.  It takes an incredible amount of energy, stamina, and conditioning for a horse and jockey to head right from Churchill Downs to enter the Preakness, and later the Belmont Stakes one after the other – let alone win all of them. That’s just one of the reasons why a Triple Crown Champion is such a big deal. They’re fierce.

Two other horses in this weekend’s Preakness race were also trained in Ocala, so it’s going to be exciting to see how well they do, and if one of them can snatch victory from Mystik Dan’s formidable hooves. Originally there were four horses from Ocala; a big favorite for this race was Muth, but he sadly was ruled out because of a fever spike. Muth was trained by Jimbo and Tori Gladwell at Top Line Sales LLC in Ocala. Here’s the current Ocala roster as of May 15, 2024:

Mystik Dan

A graduate of the early training program at Silverleaf Hills Training Center in Summerfield, Fla. Silverleaf Hills is owned and operated by Ken McPeek, who trains Mystik Dan.

Catching Freedom

He was purchased by Barry Berkelhammer as a yearling for the Albraugh Family Racing stable. He was started and trained at Abracadabra Farm in Ocala.


A graduate of 2023 OBS Spring Sale where he was purchased for $14,000. Received his early training at Ciaran Dunne’s Wavertree Stables in Ocala, who also consigned him to the OBS Spring Sale.

Enjoy the race!

For more information on the starting lineup and any changes to the post up on Saturday at Pimlico Race Course, visit the NBC Sports page, and to watch the race, here’s a handy guide for where and when you can view it online or on TV.

Black-eyed Susan Cocktail

Since the 1950s, the Black-Eyed Susan has been the official cocktail of Preakness. If you can’t make it to the race, you can enjoy a drink at home using the same recipe as the drinks made at at Pimlico!

1 part bourbon
1 part peach Schnapps liqueur
1 part vodka
2 parts orange juice
2 parts sour mix

Step 1: Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake to mix. 

Step 2: Strain into a tall glass over fresh crushed ice. 

Step 3: Garnish with an orange slice and cherry. Serve and enjoy.

A Black-eyed Susan cocktail, the official drink of the Preakness