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A CHARISMATIC CROWD ATTENDS 124TH RUNNING OF PREAKNESS
Published May 17, 1999
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).