SBD/Issue 167/Events & AttractionsPrint All
Pimlico Race Course On Saturday Sees
Smallest Preakness Crowd Since '83YEARATTENDANCE'0977,850'08112,222'07121,263'06118,402'05115,318'04112,668'03100,268'02101,138'01104,454'0098,304'99100,311
WHERE'S THE PARTY? Chuckas said of the revamped alcohol policy, "Do I have any regrets? The answer is no. Do I intend to reverse the policy? The answer is no. I understand that tradition and culture, and change can be difficult, but I think change is good. I think this will benefit many people and hurt only a few." In Baltimore, Gus Sentementes notes corporate sponsorships for the race "were expected to be down" about 10%, while Bob Nettles, who owns the track's main merchandise seller, All Pro Championships, reported a 40% drop in "sales of shirts, hats and other items at its infield locations" (Baltimore SUN, 5/18). Also in Baltimore, Kevin Cowherd noted normally there are "60,000 beered-up fans shoehorned into the infield" for the Preakness, but Saturday there was a "fraction of that." Cowherd: "In one of the great Baltimore protests of all time, the sweltering masses rose up as one and thundered: You won't let us bring beer to your party? Fine, we won't show up at all. ... The ban sure did chill the party" (Baltimore SUN, 5/17). In DC, Lisa Rein wrote, "The usually crammed infield at the Preakness Stakes, which earned that nickname because of drunken fighting and other forms of debauchery, was far from full as post time neared" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/17). In DC, Thom Loverro wrote Pimlico "was a ghost town compared with previous years" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 5/17). NBC’s Tom Hammond acknowledged the attendance drop during the coverage, noting the Preakness “bills itself as the ‘People’s Race’ and the ‘People’s Party’ and traditionally, most of the partying has been done there in the infield. But as you see from that aerial shot, obviously it is much less crowded than normal." He noted the new alcohol policy appeared to have "really substantially cut into the crowd in the infield” ("Preakness Stakes," NBC, 5/16).
O'Malley Says Preakness Will Remain
Maryland Tradition During Interview
TRIPLE THREAT: Rachel Alexandra became the first filly to win the Preakness in 85 years, and in DC, Stephen Whyno notes she "gave horse racing a heck of a show" by holding off Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird. Rarely does the "end of a Triple Crown bid bring as much excitement as its continuation," but that is "exactly what happened Saturday in the Preakness." Whyno notes "two aspects of horse racing bring in crowds and media attention: brilliance and rivalries." With Rachel Alexandra and Mine That Bird, there was a "mix of both" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 5/18). The WASHINGTON TIMES' Loverro noted the "novelty of the filly's win will turn out to be the next best thing to a Triple Crown horse heading into the Belmont Stakes" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 5/17). NBC's Costas: "Ordinarily interest in the Belmont Stakes dips a little bit if there isn’t a possibility of a Triple Crown champion, but not in this case. ... We have the possibility of a mile-and-a-half duel between the two people’s choices" ("Preakness Stakes," NBC, 5/16). SI.com's Mark Beech wrote Saturday's race "provided vindication for two horses, and more than a little redemption for the sport of racing itself" (SI.com, 5/16). CBS' Michelle Miller: "With her win, observers say Rachel Alexandra has already given the sport a much-needed giddy-up" ("Evening News," CBS, 5/16). In Philadelphia, Bob Ford: "Now the question, of course, is: How will horse racing mess it up this time? Or will the sport finally regain some of the traction with the public that has been lost while spinning its wheels in the slop for seasons?" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 5/18).