Quick Thoughts from a Preakness Veteran and Horse Racing Fan

February 05, 2009 |

My bio is that I have been to about 14 Preakness races and I am 34 years old. I am an avid horse racing fan who wagers a good amount on every race for that day. Back in the day I used to sit with the crazy people in turns 3 & 4 but as I got older I transferred over to what we call the “old man section.” Yes, there is a spot on the back stretch where the crowd is fairly older and very tame by Preakness standards. Every year, I take a walk into the spot where the kids are and it is complete chaos. It really doesn’t bother me though since I did it back in the day and they don’t bother me in my area.


To start, this is a group of older individuals at the Md Jockey Club making a decision for their core audience which is 20-25 years old. As a college kid $50 is a decent chunk of money, tacking on another $30-$40 in beer money may keep a good bit of these kids away.


I don’t think its about money for the MJC, its more about safety. Though its happened for years, it has become more popular to hurl a full unopened can in the direction of any type of event or altercation. A girl takes off her top, throw a beer. A fight breaks out, throw a beer. A beer lands near you, throw a beer in the direction from which it came. Unsuspecting people were getting hit and a 12 ounce beer falling from the sky can bust you up if it hits the wrong place. This is why you cannot bring any beverage in, a can of soda hurts just as bad as a can of beer.


Now my gripes. Every year I load up about 12 beers, 4 bottles of water, some Gatorade and a Red Bull. I pace myself and stay in control throughout the day. How many times will I have to go wait in line? Do you honestly believe there will be fast service for 80,000 people wanting beer after beer? I picture my day as – wait in line for beer, drink the beer as I wait to place my bet, wait in line for the bathroom, then repeat. Will you be able to get more than 2 beers at a time or will it be like Camden Yards where you need two people to get four beers for your group of 4?


For the kids I think the solution will be to sneak in hard liquor. How do you think that will go over? Instead of pounding beers they will do shots and be in even worse shape.


For a racing organization that is on its last legs financially, the MJC is making a decision that could be devastating if they have made the mistake of overlooking their core audience which is guaranteed revenue.