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A CHARISMATIC CROWD ATTENDS 124TH RUNNING OF PREAKNESS

          An "estimated" 100,311 attended Saturday's running of
     the 124th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in MD,
     marking the largest crowd in the race's history, according
     to Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore SUN.  Also, the MD Jockey
     Club handled $8.8M in in-state wagering, and the total
     handle, including out-of-state simulcast revenue, was
     "nearly" $46M (Baltimore SUN, 5/16).  Also in Baltimore,
     Baker & Keyser reported that the total handle was up 31%
     from '97 because of a "huge increase" in out-of-state
     wagering.  Betting figures were compared to '97 because
     '98's were "skewed" because of a blackout, which temporarily
     disabled bet-taking capabilities (Baltimore SUN, 5/16).
          EARLY TV NUMBERS: ABC's coverage earned a 3.8
     preliminary overnight Nielsen rating, down 7% from last
     year's 4.1 overnight.  In Atlanta, Prentis Rogers writes
     that after a "faulty performance in covering" the Kentucky
     Derby, ABC "bounced back with a Preakness telecast that was
     upper shelf" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 5/17).  In Baltimore,
     Milton Kent wrote that "perhaps because of the doubts
     surrounding" Charismatic, who went on to win the Preakness,
     "or for the absence of a dominant story line, the race, and
     thus the telecast, lacked a certain spark.  Still, the ABC
     team did well with what was offered, save for a few
     noticeable audio glitches" (Baltimore SUN, 5/16).    

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