Churchill Downs

Preakness is a trademark of the Triple Crown

Daily Record Business Writer
April 16, 2009 8:15 PM

Despite the recent efforts to keep the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course, the race’s status as the second leg of the Triple Crown is only loosely protected by a marketing group and trademark that do not legally bind it to any state.

The Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes have been referred to as the Triple Crown races since the 1930s. But their official designation as such and the Triple Crown trophy didn’t begin until 1950.And at least one member of that group is concerned about a new owner’s potential impact on the Triple Crown brand.

“I would argue that if you were to move the Preakness from Pimlico you would have a new construct, and you might still call it the Triple Crown, but I wouldn’t call it the Triple Crown,” said Charles Hayward, president and CEO of the New York Racing Association Inc., which owns the Belmont Stakes. “We’re watching this very closely.”

Technically, a developer could buy Preakness and Pimlico but still move the race to an out-of-state track without violating the articles of incorporation of Louisville-based Triple Crown Productions LLC or the Triple Crown trademark.