Preakness represents Baltimore like no other

May 14, 2009 |

Every third Saturday in May hundreds of thousands of people flock to Baltimore to watch the Preakness Stakes.

The Preakness is in its 134th year and is a staple of the Baltimore sporting landscape.

Thanks to a down economy and the lack of popularity as a sport, the Preakness Stakes looks to be on its last leg in Charm City. This would be a major loss for the city and I believe that Baltimoreans need to do whatever it takes to save the Preakness.

Baltimore is often looked at in a negative light by outsiders, but for one Saturday a year, Baltimore is viewed as the place to be, a place that is good.

I am not a huge horse racing fan but it would kill me to see the Preakness leave Baltimore.

I have attended two Preaknesses and I consider it sort of a “right of passage” for every native Baltimorean, something they must attend at least once in their lives.

This year, the Preakness changed its alcohol policy which stirred up many people and will ultimately lead to them choosing not to attend. I loved being in the infield and I embraced every aspect of being an infield goer, however, I understand this is not everyone’s “cup of tea”.

When I first heard of the new alcohol policy I became upset because I believe it took away from the ambiance and ora of attending a Preakness in the infield.

The more I thought about it though I am fine with the new policies if it is something that will help keep it in Baltimore for the rest of my life.

If the debauchery of the infield is what kept people from attending, then I am fine with them changing the rules so people will attend. However, I do not think the attendance numbers will even come close to the record numbers of the last two years.

The Kentucky Derby is viewed as the most prestigious race with the most ambiance while the Belmont is the last of the Triple Crown races and often has the most intrigue. With all do respect to these races, they do not compare to the Preakness.

I have many friends from out of state that I met in college and the first thing they talked about when I told them I was from Maryland was the Preakness. All my friends from out of state considered it a “must” to attend the Preakness at least once in their life.

I am a casual horse racing fan that only follows the Triple Crown races, but I absolutely love the Preakness.

The Preakness Stakes embody everything that is good about Baltimore and gives the chance for outsiders to see the city in a different light.

The race brings together everyone regardless of their differences and Baltimore is a united city.

Just like the Ravens, the Orioles and crabs, the Preakness is something that is identified with Baltimore.

It would be a shame to see it go and Baltimore fans will realize this when and if this were to happen.