BALTIMORE -- The Preakness Stakes will be worth $1.5 million next year, the first purse increase for the second leg of the Triple Crown since 1998.

The Maryland Jockey Club on Thursday announced the $500,000 increase for the May 17 race at Pimlico. The purse was last boosted 15 years ago to $1 million. The Preakness was worth $1,000 when first run in 1873.

The Kentucky Derby has a purse of $2 million. The Belmont Stakes, the last leg of the Triple Crown, is worth $1 million.

Maryland Racing Commission chairman Bruce Quade says the increase is another step in bolstering horse racing in the state.