The Maryland Jockey Club has announced that “Mr. Preakness”, Charles John (Chick) Lang, has died of natural causes on March 18, 2010, at the age of 83. Mr. Lang had been hospitalized since the day after Christmas last year
In response, the Hirsch Jacobs Stakes will be renamed in honor of Lang, who was the General Manger at Pimlico Race Course for many years. The Jacobs Stakes is a Grade 3 sprint that is run the same day as the Preakness Stakes, this year being May 15.
Lang was literally born into racing; his great-grandfather won the Kentucky Derby as a trainer in 1903, his father won the 1928 Kentucky Derby as a rider on Reigh Count (Lang Sr.’s prestigious Queen’s Plate victories also made him the only Canadian jockey in racing history to win the race both in Canada and in the United States), plus Lang’s son and grandson have served in executive capacities at various race tracks. “Mr. Preakness” held almost every job possible at the racecourse, including hotwalker, general manager and even worked successfully as a jockey’s agent. He was a permanent fixture at Pimlico from 1960 to the end of the 80s.
According to his wishes, Lang’s ashes will be spread at Pimlico in the Preakness winners’ circle. It is a fitting tribute to one of horse racing’s greatest devotees.