Preakness Stakes Cuisine: Maryland Food & Cocktails

If you follow the Triple Crown races, you already know that these events offer much more than just racing. These events are the ultimate hub spots for everyone, no matter if they are interested in horse racing or not.

The Preakness Stakes is the second leg of the Triple Crown races, and it is the place where the excitement of the Kentucky Derby continues. But just like the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes is also wrapped in traditions. In fact, did you know that the Preakness Stakes is actually older than the Kentucky Derby?

And since we are talking about a race with a long tradition, it is obvious that we can expect some exceptional dishes that have been served for generations. The food at the Preakness Stakes is quite different from the Kentucky Derby, and they focus more on seafood rather than meat.

So, if you are a seafood-lover, here are some of the best dishes that you must try when going to Maryland for the Preakness Stakes.

Crab Cakes: Maryland’s Seafood Crown Jewel

This is without a doubt one of the most often picked dishes by spectators watching the Preakness Stakes. This golden-brown crab cake, which bursts with jumbo lump crabmeat, seasoned with a blend of breadcrumbs, mayo, Dijon mustard, and the quintessential Old Bay seasoning is a dish to die for.

Crab cakes are quite traditional for Maryland, which showcases their love for the best quality blue crab meat, made in an easy-bite cake that can be served in a burger bun or separately depending on your preference.

If you’ve already tasted the crab cakes from the Preakness Stakes, and you want to do them at home, here are some tips to remember:

  • Use fresh jumbo lump crabmeat for the best flavor.
  • Don’t skimp on the Old Bay seasoning—it’s the secret behind that irresistible taste.
  • Pair your crab cakes with a zesty remoulade sauce for an extra kick.

Crab Pretzel

The crab fiesta doesn’t end here. The Preakness Stakes offer another great option, which is also a fan’s favorite. We are talking about a pretzel glazed with crab meat on the top. This is a traditional soft pretzel covered in cheese and crab, and at the end, they add Old Bay Seasoning.

These are quite easy to eat on race day, and quite delicious.


We are still going for some seafood options, which are some of the main dishes at the Preakness Stakes. Here we have oysters prepared in many different ways. These might not be as popular as crabs, maybe because it is hard to eat oysters while cheering for the horse you’ve placed a bet on.

And if you are a newcomer and don’t know how to do it, check out this guide on how to place a bet on the Preakness Stakes.

Oysters are also deeply embedded in Maryland tradition, and they are traditionally served raw and over ice with a lemon wedge, cocktail sauce, and horseradish.

Maryland Steamed Crabs & Beer

Nothing beats the experience of cracking open a steamed blue crab seasoned with Old Bay, paired with a cold Maryland craft beer. It’s a sensory delight that captures the essence of Maryland’s coastal cuisine.

Smith Island Cake

If you don’t come from Maryland, there is a good chance that you don’t know what a Smith Island cake is. This is Maryland’s official dessert, and since we are talking about tradition, obviously we can find it at the Preakness Stakes.

The traditional Smith Island cake is made with 9 layers of delicious yellow birthday cake. The layers are glued with each other using chocolate, and it is quite a delicious dessert, which to be honest, isn’t that hard to make at home.

Smith Island Cake is Maryland’s pride, boasting layers of moist yellow cake generously slathered with decadent chocolate icing. It’s a dessert fit for royalty and a must-try during Preakness festivities.

Black-Eyed Susan: The Official Preakness Cocktail

It’s time for some cocktail action. Every race in the Triple Crown championship has its official cocktail. The Mint Julep is the official cocktail of the Kentucky Derby, and the Black-Eyed Susan is the official cocktail of the Preakness Stakes.

Picture yourself sipping on a Black-Eyed Susan cocktail—a vibrant concoction of vodka, rum, pineapple, and orange juices, a splash of lime, and a touch of grenadine. It’s named after Maryland’s state flower, and it’s as colorful and lively as the Preakness itself.

Insider Tip:

  • Garnish your Black-Eyed Susan with a fresh orange slice for that extra visual appeal.
  • Also, don’t sip too many cocktails before making your bet.

Maryland Mule

For a refreshing spin, try a Maryland Mule. Swap the traditional vodka in a Moscow Mule for smooth bourbon, add ginger beer, a squeeze of lime, and garnish with mint leaves. It’s a Southern twist that’ll keep you cool and classy.

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Hi, Peachy here!

I'm a foodie mommy living in the Philippines. I'm a mom to two daughters named PURPLE SKYE and PERIWINKLE MOONE and wife to a loving husband I fondly call peanutbutter♥. I am a foodie by heart, a coffee lover and a froyo and yogurt junkie. Learn more →






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