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Exaggerator Wins at the 141st Peakness Stakes

horse race winningsOn Saturday, May 21, Exaggerator won the 141st running of the Preakness Stakes, the second jewel of the Triple Crown. Nyquist won the Kentucky Derby two weeks earlier at Churchill Downs. Exaggerator was the runner-up at the Kentucky Derby. The third jewel of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes, will take place on Saturday, June 11.

Canadian and non-U.S. residents who visited Churchill Downs for the running of the Kentucky Derby, or Pimlico Race Course for the Preakness Stakes, and won a substantial amount of money need to be aware that their winnings could be subject to a 30% withholding tax by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Fortunately, there is a way for you to get a portion or all of that withholding tax back.

The Preakness Stakes

The $1.5-million Preakness Stakes is held on the third Saturday in May at the historic Pimlico Race Course in Maryland.1

The Kentucky Derby is the first jewel of the Triple Crown and is held on the first Saturday in May. The Belmont Stakes are held at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York on the second Saturday in June.

The Preakness attracts a field of the best three-year-old thoroughbred racehorses in North America and covers a distance of 1 3/16 miles. First run in 1873, the Preakness actually predates the Kentucky Derby by two years and is named after the horse that won the Dinner Party Stakes on opening day of the Pimlico track in 1870.

The winning owner of the Preakness Stakes is presented with the Woodlawn Vase. Created by Tiffany & Co. in 1860, the trophy is named after the long-defunct Woodlawn Racing Association. In 1983, the trophy had an appraised value of $1 million, making it the most valuable trophy in U.S. sports.

Each year, the winner of the Preakness is given a $30,000 replica. The original vase is on permanent display at the Baltimore Museum of Art and is brought to Pimlico for the running of the Preakness.

In 2015, the Preakness Stakes set an attendance record of 131,680. The total handle for Preakness Day was $85.16 million.2

This year, more records were broken. Attendance for the 2016 Preakness Stakes was a record 135,256, a 2.5% increase from the previous record in 2015. Total wagering for Preakness Day was a record $91.02 million.3

Pimlico Race Course

Located in Baltimore, Maryland, Pimlico Race Course is the second-oldest racetrack in the country, having opened its doors on October 25, 1870.

The thoroughbred racetrack is most famous for hosting the Preakness Stakes. In addition to the Preakness, there are a number of other key races held on the same weekend.

Black-Eyed Susan Day is for three-year-old fillies and traditionally run on the Friday before the Preakness. The race is recognized as the middle jewel in the filly Triple Crown, which also includes the Kentucky Oaks Stakes and the Acorn.

Other races held the weekend of the Preakness include the Pimlico Special, the Sir Barton Stakes, the Chick Lang Stakes, the Dixie Stakes, the Gallorette Handicap, the Hilltop Stakes, the James W. Murphy Stakes, and the Maryland Sprint Handicap.

On Preakness day, Pimlico has a capacity of 109,748. On a regular, daily basis, the stadium has a capacity of 14,852 with live racing taking place in May and June.4

Pimlico is actually owned by Stronach Group, North America’s largest thoroughbred racing company. Honorary Chairman Frank Stronach is the founder of Magna International, an Aurora, Ontario-based automotive parts company.5

Pari-Mutuel Betting

Pari-mutuel betting is the most popular way to bet on horse racing. This French term translates as “to wager amongst ourselves.” Unlike a casino where you bet against the house, with pari-mutuel, you wager against each other on the same event.

Because you are betting against everyone else, the payout is determined by the total number of bets. This means the odds change as more and more people place bets. By gate time, the odds could be very different from when you first placed your bet—either higher or lower.

Preakness Stakes Winnings Subject to 30% Withholding Tax

If you are a non-U.S. resident and won a significant amount of money (typically over $1,200) betting on the Preakness Stakes, or at a casino, the lottery, or on a game show, while visiting the U.S., your winnings could be subject to a 30% withholding tax.

But if you live in a country like Canada, which has signed a U.S. tax treaty, you may be eligible for a refund.

There are a number of countries that currently do not have a U.S. tax treaty. However, if you reside in any of the following countries, you could still be eligible for a refund: Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Israel, Kuwait, Mexico, Malaysia, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, and the U.A.E.

To see if you meet the criteria and are eligible to get some or all of your withholding tax back, contact RMS.

Get Your Withholding Taxes Back with RMS

If you visited the U.S. and attended any of the legs of the Triple Crown and had 30% of your winnings withheld by the IRS, the pari-mutuel tax refund experts at RMS can help you reclaim a portion or all of your taxable winnings.

RMS was founded by a Canadian Chartered Accountant in 1998. Since then, RMS has become the most reliable and experienced wagering, gaming, and casino tax refund provider for non-U.S. residents. Only RMS has the One Simple StepTM process. Our customer service agents take care of the rest.

Once you provide us with complete documentation, your claim will be processed and we will submit it to the IRS. RMS has never been refused an eligible refund!

Contact RMS today by calling our toll-free number at 1-888-272-5559 or by emailing us at [email protected].


1. “Preakness,” Preakness web site, http://www.preakness.com/.
2. “Total Handle of $85.161 Million Up From 2014,” Preakness web site, http://www.preakness.com/news-center/latest-news/attendance-record-set-american-pharoah-wins-140th-preakness-0.
3. “Breaks Previous Handle Mark from 2005 as Exaggerator Upsets Nyquist,” Preakness web site, http://www.preakness.com/news-center/latest-news/preakness-sets-all-time-records-crushes-handle-and-attendance-marks.
4. “Track Overview,” Preakness web site, http://www.pimlico.com/visitors/track-overview.
5. “Stronach Group,” Stronach Group web site, http://www.stronachgroup.com/.

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