Horse Racing's Odd Year Continues This Weekend With Preakness
Nothing about the '20 Preakness Stakes "will feel familiar," as Saturday's October edition will be "robbed of the atmosphere that makes it one of the state’s signature events," according to Childs Walker of the BALTIMORE SUN. There will be "no crowd of 130,000," and NBC's commentators will "analyze the race from a studio in Connecticut." The "pro-secessionist state song, 'Maryland, My Maryland,' will not be played as race organizers embrace the social justice messages that have swept American sports." But those who love the race say that they would "rather have it in this form than not at all." NBC analyst Randy Moss "anticipates a competitive, exciting Preakness." But he said that there is "no question the Triple Crown races have felt 'weird' given the schedule changes and empty venues." The Stronach Group, which owns and operates Preakness race course Pimlico, "waited as long as possible before deciding to run the Preakness without spectators." Stronach Group VP/Communications & Events Tiffani Steer said that the company "would try to engage fans with a 'Preakness at Home' behind-the-scenes program over Instagram and Facebook Live and would use a new 'jockey cam' to give viewers a sense of what riders see as they go through the Preakness." The betting handle for Kentucky Derby day, which "also ran without patrons, was down" from $250.9M in '19 to $126M in '20. If Preakness day "suffers a similar percentage drop from its record" $99.9M handle in '19, the loss would be about $48M (BALTIMORE SUN, 9/27).