The Preakness is the second jewel of the Triple Crown, horse racing’s prized three-race event. The class of the Preakness, however, pales in comparison to its prestigious sister, the Kentucky Derby. Where the Derby is about class, elegance, and the hard working horses with their determined jockeys, the Preakness is about the party.
This year will be no exception to the rule. In 2009, Maryland Jockey Club, which puts on the Preakness, banned race goers from bringing their own alcohol. Last year, they offered $20 bottomless mugs. This year, the bottomless mugs are back with a new mascot and a new slogan.
The Kegasus is being introduced as a advertising ploy to bring young men and women to the infield for a “10 hour party to celebrate a 2 minute race.” Along with the bottomless mugs, the Kegasus is also promoting a bikini contest and some big-name musicians.
Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas has no regrets, either. “We have two aging racetrack facilities and declining revenues,” he told reporters. “We can’t operate like we have in the past.” Chuckas understands that at least 40,000 of those who come to Pimlico’s infield during the Preakness aren’t there for the race.
Maryland Delegate Pat McDonough calls the Kegasus campaign infantile. “You can’t fix stupid,” she stated speaking of the Maryland Jockey Club.
As of this past weekend, ticket sales for the Preakness are up 17% from last year. Racetrack officials are expecting more than 100,000 people to be in attendance this Friday and Saturday. The numbers are suggesting that “stupid” has some appeal.
Tickets are still available for both days, and Kegasus and the party in the infield will continue as strong as ever.