BALTIMORE, 05-12-12---Preakness week unofficially started this morning at Pimlico Race Course with the running of the “Down the Stretch for SGK” Preakness 5k. All 643 runners began the race by breaking off through the starting gate. The entire 3.1 mile race took place on Pimlico property, which included one trip around the famous dirt course, finishing in the famed Infield.

Neville Davey, a 37-year-old from Menlo Park, Ca. finished in 16:01, 62 seconds ahead of Gabriel Rodriguez. Davey’s girlfriend, Heather Tanner won the female division in 18:21, 40 seconds ahead of two-time defending champion Sherry Stick.

“What a great experience,” said Davey. “We are in town to visit Heather’s parents for Mother’s Day and decided to run about a week ago. Her father and sister also ran today. I run in a lot of road races back in San Francisco so it was fun to run on the track. We’ll be back next year and plan on staying through the Preakness.”

Tanner grew up in Howard County and graduated from Centennial High School. Her parents reside in nearby Towson.

Doug O’Neill, the trainer of Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another participated as did every member of Team O’Neill. Stable pony Lava Man, who earned nearly $5.3 million during his racing career, led the runners around the track.

“We just want to embrace everything about the event,” O’Neill said. “Who knows if we’ll ever be back so why not enjoy the entire Preakness experience and be part of the Baltimore community.”

The race kicked off a busy Preakness week schedule of events for O’Neill, who will attend the premier of the “Horses in Cinema” series at the AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring tonight where he will meet Secretariat’s jockey Ron Turcotte. Tomorrow, he and the team will attend the Baltimore Ravens rookie mini-camp in Owings Mills. On Tuesday, the 43-year-old will pay a visit to the Johns Hopkins Children’s Hospital before moving on to Orioles Park at Camden Yards to throw out the ceremonial first pitch for the O’s game against the New York Yankees . On Wednesday, he and jockey Mario Gutierrez will visit the Boys & Girls Club at CC Jackson Recreation Center, near Pimlico.