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Return of the port-a-potty races at Preakness

Sam Cook handed off his beer to a friend in the infield, had another friend hoist him up, and with a few wobbly steps brought back what he called a "Preakness tradition" with a run across the top of a line of port-a-potties.

The practice, which was memorialized on video years ago, was among the factors that prompted race organizers to ban coolers and outside alcohol in 2009. Several people would get injured during the races, also called the "Running of the Urinals." As infielders dashed across the top of portable toilets, onlookers would throw beer cans at them to knock them off.

Cook, 20, of Aberdeen, described the feeling of his successful sprint across the plastic outhouses as "absolutely exhilarating."

"It's something you have to do when you come to Preakness," he said.

Cook's friend, who declined to give his name, followed suit. Both runs drew yells from the infield onlookers, but if a couple of nearby police officers noticed, they didn't let on.

What about falling? Or a beer being chucked at their heads? Weren't they nervous at all about being carried out with a broken arm, or worse?

"It would've made for a better story," Cook said.

The infield has regularly been the scene of heavy drinking and hard partying, but wilder moments have drawn notoriety in recent years, especially the so-called "Running of the Urinals" in 2007 and 2008. Videos of men dashing across the tops of portable toilets while others hurled what appeared to be full cans of beer at them were widely viewed on YouTube.

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