There were still drunk 20-somethings. Still crowds making a ruckus. And people throwing up after one too many beers. But this year, unlike recent Preakness Stakes when infield crowds gained a reputation for debauchery, race goers said the fun-filled party was less out of control.
By By Hanah Cho and Alison Knezevich and The Baltimore Sun
It was a nice bit of promotional synchronicity for the Maryland Jockey Club, the operator of Pimlico and Laurel Park, the state's major thoroughbred tracks. Later that afternoon it filed its annual financial report with the Maryland Racing Commission, which showed it had lost $5.3 million last year.
Wanted: New mascot for 137-year-old racing event; must appeal to the young and web-savvy; social media experience required. That's the premise of a promotion to unseat Kegasus as the Preakness mascot. The Maryland Jockey Club would seem to be behind the marketing blitz, but it's not taking credit.
Vladimir Guerrero's two-run homer on Sunday powered the Orioles to a 2-1 win and a series victory over the Nationals. ... Brian Roberts will go to Pittsburgh on Tuesday to have a consultation with a renowned expert in sports-related concussions. ...
The Infield shenanigans at the Preakness are legendary -- and they were years before Kegasus came along with his whole ¿Be legendary¿ spiel -- but for young newcomers who came Pimlico today to see drunk people running on porta-potties or playing dodgeball with full beer cans, the Infield is much tamer than expected. Score one for the Maryland Jockey Club, which has succeeded in cleaning up the Infield.
I got a tip that Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff was competing in the Preakness Infield cornhole tournament. If I wasn¿t looking for Cundiff -- who was wearing a polo, shorts and a pair of shades -- I wouldn¿t have recognized him among all the college kids and young professionals tossing bean bags inside the tent.
The Infield bikini competition was held in the late morning today, so I scrambled from the awkwardness that was Kegasus¿ man stall and weaved through a crowd of pervy guys and their angry girlfriends to catch the end of the event. Afterward, I chatted with the winner and couple of other competitors.
You might have heard that the world is coming to an end sometime before the 136th running of the Preakness Stakes. Meanwhile, beer-guzzling Baltimoreans have been mugging Kegasus wherever he galloped today. Might this worship of a pagan god have something to with this whole "Rapture" thing?
Within five minutes of arriving in the Infield at Pimlico this morning, I got snubbed by a centaur who had more important matters to attend to. Fortunately, after watching Mr. Greengenes play a song or two, I stumbled into Stacy Keibler.
The predicted ascension of the righteous into heaven will likely have little effect on those headed to Pimlico Saturday, so why not use the harbingers of the end of times to figure out which horse to bet on?
Preakness spokescentaur Kegasus held his first press conference at Pimlico on Monday morning, and as was the case during our chat two months ago, he didn't really say anything of substance. Thankfully, I don't think any of the reporters on hand were expecting to glean a useful sound bite out of the hairy, husky guy in half of a horse costume. They were all there to see the spectacle for themselves, and we got a sneak preview of what Kegasus will look like on Preakness Day. I was hoping his costume would be a two-person operation, but I'm told his hind legs were on wheels.
Rookie starter Zach Britton pitched nine scoreless innings Thursday night, but it took extra innings for the Orioles to beat the Mariners. ... Despite allowing five runs in his past seven outings, Orioles reliever Jason Berken says his shoulder feels great. ... Brian Matusz is scheduled to make a pair of rehab starts next week and could return to the Orioles soon. ... Maryland's 2011 recruiting class has dwindled from three members to zero now that Nick Faust, Sterling Gibbs and Martin Breunig have been granted releases from their letters of intent.
Preakness organizers just released another Kegasus commercial to get beer-chugging, centaur-loving college kids fired up for next weekend's InfieldFest at Pimlico. I'm still confused by the advertising campaign, but it has apparently worked: Ticket sales are up 17 percent. So while I try to figure out what I'm missing here, check out this video of Kegasus blow-drying his hair/mane:
The Orioles' four-man rotation is set. Brian Matusz will start Saturday and Chris Tillman gets the nod for Sunday. ... Earl Weaver will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Monday's home opener and Thurmont¿s Richard Troxell will sing the National Anthem. ... Jennifer Royle from The Fan has filed an $800,000 defamation suit against WNST owner Nestor Aparicio and two of his hosts. ... A four-member Towson entourage expects to conclude interviews at the Final Four and announce a new basketball coach next week.
I've had a day to wrap my head around the Maryland Jockey Club's new Preakness advertising campaign, "Be Legendary," and its spokes-centaur, Kegasus. I'm not offended by the beer-bellied half-horse, half-man. I'm just confused.