Rachel Alexandra was the only thing in the 134th Preakness that not disappoint, unless of course you bet against her.
Many people predicted that infield attendance numbers would be down because of the changes that were made and they were right. Overhead shots showed a sparse crowd and the by all accounts the atmosphere was subdued.
Last year’s crowd was 112,222 and the attendance numbers this year’s were about half of this.
The major problem with the low attendance numbers is the low revenue that comes with it. In previous year’s the revenue brought in from the Preakness was enough to help fund horse racing in Maryland for the whole year.
Charging for beer and food would not make up for the lack of revenue that another 40,000 people paying 50 dollars a ticket has.
The low numbers at this Preakness should be alarming and shows that if there is no change the Preakness will be out of Baltimore sooner then later.
This year’s Preakness showed that maybe change isn’t a good thing and will not save the Horse Racing industry in this state. I blogged earlier that I was in favor of the new policies if it would help keep the Preakness here, however, these changes seemed to have hurt more then they helped.
The infield is what makes Preakness the event that it is an if you take that away, you might as well just take the race away. Attending a Preakness infield is a “right of passage” and something that people look forward to for 365 days a year but now those days look to be long gone.
I understand the need to protect people and look out for their safety, but was it necessary to go from extreme to the other and sacrifice millions of dollars in revenue?
The Preakness has always been an “event” more so then a race but thanks to the changes made it looks to be the other way around.
Maybe charging for beer and food isn’t going to “save” the Preakness after all. I wonder if the Maryland Jockey club and all those who were clamoring for change got what they want?
If getting 60,000 subdued people, most of whom left before the main race, in the infield is what they wanted, they most certainly got it.
Suddenly the urinal races in a field of 100,000+ partiers suddenly doesn’t seem so bad.
So long Preakness, it was nice having you in Baltimore for 134 years