Preakness News: It’s All Good!

February 06, 2009 | Gary Quill

Shock. Sorrow. Anger. Acceptance. These are the four (4) emotional stages we experience when losing a Loved One. Tens of thousands of Preakness Day Infield patrons probably sit at the Anger stage, a day after the Maryland Jockey Club (MJC) announced no beverages would be permitted to be brought onto the Pimlico Infield (the Loved One) on the 3rd Saturday in May. Personally, I am already at the Acceptance stage. 


No alcoholic beverages, no soft drinks, no bottled water… I wonder if baby formula will be allowed. I would think so, since this latest effort to clean-up the Infield is geared toward attracting families versus fraternity brothers and sorority sisters. No more “Running of the Urinals”, no more beer-fueled Slip-and-Slides, no “Show Us Your T—“ signs. Sigh! Gone but soon not forgotten.


I applaud this move. It was a long-time coming. The good news is that beverages will be sold at a reasonable price (e.g. $3.50 for a 16 oz. draft beer). And with the economy in the crapper, the timing couldn’t be better. Huh?! Yep. I figure Preakness Day 2009 isn’t going to set any attendance and/or handle records with the national unemployment rate at 7.6% (and will likely be above 9% in May), so why not make this dramatic change in policy now? The 2009 Infield attendance will probably be cut in half, maybe more, but I guarantee the crowds will increase year after year as the economy recovers and the word gets out that the Infield at Pimlico on Preakness Day is the place to be.      


Actually, the $50 admission is a bargain considering Rock and Roll Hall of Famers ZZ Top and Grammy-nominated Buckcherry headline the three band concert billed as Preakness InfieldFEST. Plus pro beach volleyball players will display their skills in a tournament… and oh, by the way, throughout the day there will be twelve exciting chase scenes circling the InfieldFEST, highlighted by this little horse race known as The Preakness Stakes, featuring the winner of the Kentucky Derby. 


Speaking of the Derby, tis the season when the crop of 3 year old Derby hopefuls run in various Derby Prep races over the next few months, trying to prove they are worthy to run at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May. On Saturday (Feb. 7th) there are three (3) such prep races. Below are my selections for those races.


Whirlaway (race 8 at Aqueduct):       #3 – Peace Town  (2-1)

                                                               #1 – Haynesfield  (1-1)

                                                               #6 – Cellar Dweller (10-1)


Risen Star (race 9 at Fair Grounds):  #7 – Giant Oak (3-1)

                                                               #6 – Friesan Fire  (7-2)

                                                              #12 – Flying Pegasus (6-1)

Robert B. Lewis (race 8 at Santa Anita):  #4 – I Want Revenge  (5-2)               

                                                                      #2 – Pioneerof The Nile (2-1)

                                                                      #8 – Shafted (8-1)


Next week I will publish my “Derby Double Dozen” in advance of the first of three Kentucky Derby Futures Pool, scheduled to open for wagering on February 13th.