For some, the best views of the horse racing action at the Preakness today can’t be bought with expensive tickets. In fact, they can be had for free — you just have to know where to look.
Ricardo Dorsey, 55, is something of an amateur horse expert. He can hold forth for minutes on horse breeding, historic race times, and the dynamics of a single race. A Park Heights resident, he knows the clearest view of the Pimlico Race Course is outside the northwestern tip of the track on Northern Parkway, near the intersection with West Rogers Avenue.
There, Dorsey, who works at Johns Hopkins Hospital, can see jockeys warming up the thoroughbreds, as well as watch the horses round the final corner before going all out on the home stretch.
“These are the last few seconds when you get to get a visual inspection,” Dorsey said. “You look for visual tips. Usually you look for bad signs as well as good signs.”
A bad sign, for instance, might be a horse that is sweaty and lathered up before the race has even begun, Dorsey said. And with the help of binoculars, he can also get a good look at the jockeys.
“They got the game face on,” Dorsey said. “They focus on the strategy that they’ve set prior to the race.”
Though he only bets sometimes — “I work, I can’t afford to bet” — Dorsey is mainly here to enjoy the sights and sounds, which he says are more vivid at his little corner than even in the grandstands.
“Here, it’s like a vibration of rhythmic hooves,” he said. “You don’t hear that up there. It’s like majestic thunder. I love that and I wait to hear it.”