Owners of horses in the Preakness Stakes and limited guests will be permitted at Saturday’s race after Gov. Larry Hogan issued an order raising spectator capacities at Maryland’s racetracks to 250.
General fans will not be allowed at the Preakness, said Dave Joseph, a spokesman for The Stronach Group, which owns and operates Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park. He added that the company has not made a decision about admitting fans to Laurel Park, where racing will resume next week after the brief Preakness meet at Pimlico.
The governor’s move to allow limited spectators at tracks followed a similar order last week opening stadiums to crowds of up to 250. Hogan spokesman Mike Ricci said “the order was necessary to bring racetracks into line with stadiums. Preakness was not a factor.”
The Ravens admitted family members of players, coaches and front-office staff to M&T Bank Stadium for Monday night’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Team president Dick Cass said he hoped it was a step toward admitting limited numbers of fans for games later in the season.
Ricci said Monday there’s “no timetable, per se” for increasing sports-venue capacities beyond 250 as the state continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s a combination of evaluating the progress we’re making on our health metrics, and discussions with local health officials and organizations,” he said.
The Stronach Group announced at the beginning of September the Preakness would be run without fans. The race drew 131,256 to Pimlico last year.
The Belmont Stakes and the Kentucky Derby were also run largely without spectators, though Churchill Downs admitted owners and limited guests to the Sept. 5 Derby.