The Preakness party starts tonight at Mt. Washington Tavern with America's Best Racing

May 17

The Preakness itself is already a huge party. But what's stopping you from knocking back cocktails and gorging on delicious snacks at a pre-party for the main party? Enter: The racing site America's Best Racing, which is once again taking over the Sky Bar at Mt. Washington Tavern for a night of food, drinks, a silent auction, and plenty of speculation about the second jewel of the Triple Crown—all hosted by Dan Tordjman, an ABR writer, handicapper, lover of bow ties, and all-around swell guy (disclosure: He and I have become friends since last year's bash, which merely attests to the last part). The event has been known to bring out jockeys, trainers, and owners to let loose before the big race day—I even saw Doug O'Neill, trainer of 2016 Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist, tending bar last year. The cost of admission includes a drink ticket and entry into a drawing for a pair of Preakness tickets, with a portion of proceeds going to Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, a charity that helps take care of retired thoroughbreds. That's a guaranteed win, which is more than can be said for the bets I'll be placing at Pimlico this weekend. 7-11 p.m., 5700 Newbury St., (410) 367-6903, eventbrite.com, $10.

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