Well, here’s another nice (Preak)MESS you’ve gotten me into.

May 18, 2011 | Keith Melchior

I saw and heard an interview on both TV and radio with the “legendary” Kegasus  Monday afternoon. He said is the “protector of the infield.”

Say what?

I had a feeling this was going to be a stupid ad campaign when it was first announced a few months ago. I was curious how they were going to pull off the centaur character live and in person. Monday’s newscast provided the answer. And it is a total mess. Is the Maryland Jockey Club is so desperate for moolah, it stoops to the level of total absurdity?

First of all, I do have a sense of humor, albeit a little warped on occasion, but this whole idea of Kegasus, and what he allegedly stands for, is not even remotely funny.  Sad thing is, the Maryland Jockey Club actually PAID  good money for this ad campaign. Last year it was a “get your Preak on” promotion, which was deemed borderline offensive by some of our more sensitive neighbors. This year, they clearly offended themselves with this particular ad campaign.  It’s stupid, plain and simple. A total mess.

The horse racing industry in Maryland is in a shambles and the elected officials care nothing about it or they’d try to do something positive, like put slots parlors at the race tracks. It works for Dover and Delaware Park, so why not here? No, let’s put them at a mall in Anne Arundel County or an obscure location in Cecil County that immediately costs you $5 in tolls (that will most likely be raised to $6.) THAT will definitely bring the people in, won’t it?  By having slots actually located at the race track, the lure of people to the slots parlors would give them potential race track patrons, which is more than they are getting now at those dying facilities. The people would already be IN the facility and might just venture track side to see what’s going on while taking a break from the one-armed bandits.  IF they had a booth of educational information or someone to teach the basics in regard to horse racing, handicapping, betting, etc, some people might just place a bet on a horse and walk away thinking, “this isn’t so bad, I’ll come back and try this again soon.”  Could you imagine busloads of patrons combining a day trip to the slots AND the track?  Mission accomplished.

I have been to the race track on many occasions, although I’ve never been to Pimlico on Preakness Day.  Trust me when I tell you Kegasus isn’t changing my mind. There are all walks of life at the track on any given live race day. I’ve seen the crusty old men chomping on cigars, old women wearing their tattered clothes and costume jewelry thinking they are still as hot as they were 50 years ago, the single dads who are looking for a distraction from having their kids every other weekend, people who look like they are betting their last dollar on a sure-thing in the 7th race. They’re all there and they come back week after week for the 3 dollar admission, 2 dollar racing form, 2 dollar hot dogs and a chance to hit an exacta or  trifecta. They won’t be there Saturday because at $40 bucks a ticket for admission, plus inflated food and drink prices, it might be a little too expensive.

Getting back to the “legendary” Kegasus, I swear the guy playing the role must have either lost a bet or has been blackmailed into doing it. Based on the radio and TV interviews I heard and saw, he is a miserable actor. I would expect the ad agency to cast someone who is a strong speaker and at least has some type of persona in playing the part he is hired to play. This guy STINKS with a capital S.  He stumbled over most of his words, had no clue how to project his words,  did not look like he really cared about his role, and is a terrible actor.  Mr Trump would definitely fire that project manager. The ad agency would have been better off trying to snag someone who works the Renaissance Festival circuit. The people I see playing the roles of kings, queens, knights, etc, are far superior in their talents and they make you almost believe they actually are the person they are portraying.  Kegasus only makes me believe there can’t be a more ridiculous advertising idea, ever.

They should be ashamed of themselves for the entire campaign idea and are probably laughing all the way to the bank at the Maryland Jockey Club and State of  Maryland’s expense.

Every time you hear rumors about the race being moved to another state, the politicians get involved. Why? It’s only a 1 day event but it supposedly brings millions of dollars into the local economy. But it’s STILL the one day when the money brought in eclipses the pool totals for the entire racing calendar year.  Some folks are talking about the possibility of turning the Preakness into an entire weekend festival of racing, with the running of the Black-Eyed Susan race on Saturday and the Preakness Stakes race run on Sunday. How is that going to work?  The only ones interested in the Black-Eyed Susan race are those who have a vested interest IN the race. The general public isn’t going en-mass to Pimlico to see this race on a Friday afternoon, let alone make a special trip to see it on a Saturday, and moving the Preakness Stakes race to Sunday is a horrible idea. There’s little or no time for the drunks to recover and I’m sure the local churches would be up in arms about the parking situation and crowds, unless they offer Godly intervention on a daily double or longshot. There’s only one thing that gets thousands of people up and running early on a Sunday morning and those guys wear purple uniforms.

The infield needs protection from itself and rest assured, based on the cheesy, sleazy history of  “legendary” infield lore,  there will be loads of overtime paid police presence out there offering that “protection.”  The odds are 7-2 Kegasus is nowhere to be found in that infield once the party starts.

If it continues in the future with this level of incompetency, perhaps it’s time for Maryland to lose the Preakness Stakes race. Or should I say PreakMESS.