A year after the Maryland Jockey Club encouraged Baltimore to get its "Preak" on with a feather-ruffling advertising campaign for last year's Preakness party, event organizers are turning to a spokes-centaur named "Kegasus" to generate interest in the 2011 Preakness InfieldFest, which is May 21 at Pimlico Race Course.
The Maryland Jockey Club announced today in a press release the launch of this year's InfieldFest campaign, "The Legend of Kegasus," which centers on a mythical creature that is half-horse and half-man -- and a full-on "party manimal," according to the release. Kegasus will be the voice of the campaign in all advertisements for television, radio and on the Internet, including YouTube and Twitter (www.twitter.com/allhailkegasus).
"In order to reach our highly targeted younger demographic, we have realized we need to go where they go and do what they do," MJC president Tom Chuckas said in the release. "By launching a robust social media presence and appearing at downtown bars, Kegasus will have the opportunity to interact directly with his fans and get them excited about this year's InfieldFest."
Because nothing gets horse racing fans and party-goers excited like a shirtless guy in half of a horse costume.
"Kegasus speaks directly to our InfieldFest demographic with his no-nonsense personality and total embodiment of a good time," Chuckas said.
It's an interesting step for Preakness organizers, who tried to clean up the image of the infield shenanigans two years ago by discontinuing the BYOB infield -- which was more like "bring your own 30-pack, and one for a friend, too" -- and putting an end to the "running of the urinals." As a result, a 25-year low of 77,850 people attended the race in 2009, and after aggressively pushing its "Get Your Preak On" campaign with suggestive billboards last year, attendance rose to 95,000, according to club officials.
We'll see how many Baltimoreans want to "Be Legendary" at the 2011 InfieldFest, which features a concert headlined by Bruno Mars and Train and the return of unlimited beer at a set fee.