THE INFIELD AT THE PREAKNESS USUALLY DRAWS 60,000. SATURDAY (WITH NO BOOZE)-CRICKETS
Some people call horse racing “The Sport of Kings.” It’s not. After Saturday’s Preakness, you can officially refer to horse racing as, “An Excuse to Get Drunk.”
Rachel Alexandra won the race, becoming the first filly to win the Preakness since 1924. Nobody cares. The sport of horse racing is dying. Tracks are closing around the country. The same day as the running of the second leg of the Triple Crown, Hollywood Park in California announced it was cutting its schedule to just four days a week this season. Magna Entertainment, the company that owns the Preakness, filed for bankruptcy in March. They have put Pimlico up for sale. The only reason they didn’t put the track on the auction block is the state of Maryland threatened to confiscate the track through emminent domain.
The only glimmer of hope comes from Delaware where the state recently approved sports betting as a way to bolster the sagging horse racing industry. Fans will now be able to gamble on pro and college sports and also play table games at Delaware Park. It’s the only way to get people to come to the track. Horse racing can’t even stand on its own at Pimlico where they have run the Preakness since 1873. It also doesn’t help that the people running the sport are contributing to horse racing’s demise.
A filly winning the Preakness is not the buzz in Baltimore. It’s not what people are talking about around the water cooler at work. No, there was a bigger story that emerged from the race. With attendance already declining at the track this year because of a bad econonomy, the effetes that run the the Preakness made a horrible decision this year. They decided not to sell alcohol or let fans bring it into the infield at the race this year.
Tired of the drunkeness and partying that had earned the race the nickname “The Freakness” in recent years, officials banned booze and all beverages from being carried into the infield this year. The result was a disaster. The infield usually draws some 60,000 fans for the Preakness. The debauchery is legendary with topless women and drunk college students turning the event into an all-day party. This year, with no booze, there was a mere smattering of fans in attendance. Overall attendance at the race dropped as well from over 117,000 last year to less than 78,000.
The drop in attendance and interest in the race was so laughable that the button-down Washington Post actually taunted its Maryland neighbors with a headline referring to the “Sobering Attendance Drop” at the Preakness. With no alocohol allowed to be brought in, as a Facebook posting pointed out, “What’s the point of going?”