Preakness Preview: Parties, Panties and Parlays

The Preakness Stakes has historically been all about the parties.  Fans were allowed to visit the infield with their own coolers full of beverages…soft drinks and “adult beverages” alike.

Security and safety concerns led to disbanding the open alcohol policy two years ago.  Alcohol was available, but the cost was troublesome.  The change was not well received and the unthinkable happened in a sport that relies on bodies and betting…attendance dropped.

In 2010, the host  of the Preakness Stakes, the Maryland Jockey Club, instituted some fan-friendly changes.  Race fans and party-goers alike returned as attendance at Pimlico Race Course increased to 95,760, up from 77,850 in 2009.  It is still down from 2008, with 112,222 attendees, and the record-crowd of 121,263 in 2007.

Parties:

The slogan is simple: The People’s Race…The People’s Party!  Preakness InfieldFest 2011.  Infield general admission is $50, and the ticket includes admission to the race and an assortment of entertainment.  The main stage will have musical performances by Bruno Mars, Train and Hotspur.  The Beer Garden Jägermeister Stage offers concerts by Mr Greengenes, Phil Vassar and Puddle of Mudd.

For an extra $20, spectators 21 and over can be in the “Mug Club.”  This allows entrance into exclusive Mug Club areas, and the included souvenir mug includes free beer refills for the day.

Panties:

While not quite “panties,” the ever-popular bikini contest is back at InfieldFest!  The contest will take place on the Jägermeister Second Stage, featuring some some bold and beautiful women of the Preakness.

Parlays:

This may not be the most common bet for horse racing, but here is an overview of the field:

1. Astrology 15-1 Best chance for non-Derby horses
2. Norman Asbjornson 30-1 Expectations don’t even warrant 30-1 odds
3. King Congie 20-1 Favorite of the long shots
4. Flashpoint 20-1 Could set fast pace but will fade
5. Shackleford 12-1 Will try to hold onto lead down the stretch
6. Sway Away 15-1 Should have clean run with 4 & 5 off to fast starts
7. Midnight Interlude 15-1 Will have to have a better finish this weekend
8. Dance City 12-1 Class of the front runners, but distance a concern
9. Mucho Macho Man 6-1  Fan favorite didn’t disappoint at Derby
10. Dialed In 9-2  Derby favorite should close down the stretch this race
11. Animal Kingdom 2-1   Deserving favorite following a solid win in the Derby
12. Isn’t He Perfect 30-1 Actually, no…he isn’t.  Should be 100-1
13. Concealed Identity 30-1 Knows the track and could be a long shot that pays
14. Mr. Commons 20-1 Solid horse, but outmatched

Overview:

Animal Kingdom enjoyed a perfect ride in the Kentucky Derby.  There was barely enough speed to open the field, and not so much as to push him.  He stayed close enough to the lead horses to allow him to chase down the leaders.  He won’t likely be as fortunate this go around.

Animal Kingdom looks solid again this week, but will be challenged to cross the wire first.  The lack of early pace last week allowed middle closers to stay close to the lead.  Dialed In prefers a little faster pace early, with a hard late closing burst.  Adding Dance City to the field will make this circuit more to his liking.

Mucho Macho Man always seems to finish in the money, doing so in 8-9 starts.  Betters who like exacta or trifecta bets will likely have him on the back end of their favorites.

Shackleford will have a little more company in the front this weekend.  It might actually help him, though, as not being pushed in the Derby kept him from opening up much of a lead.  The big question is if Flashpoint is going to want to start fast, or really fast.  If he pushes too hard, Shackleford could fade hard. A win seems far-fetched, but the shorter track (the Stakes track is 1/16th mile shorter than the Derby) sets the stage nicely for Shackelford and Dance City to hold off some of the chargers.  Including them as part of the wheel on an exacta or trifecta bet makes sense.

Overview

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