So on every third Saturday in May the historic Preakness Stakes are held at the Pimlico Racetrack in Baltimore, MD. It’s the second leg to the U.S. Triple Crown horse racing title coming two weeks after the Kentucky Derby in Louisville and three weeks before the Belmont Stakes in Belmont, NY. There have only been 11 Triple Crown winners in 137 years of racing.
The Preakness infield scene has gained steady notoriety over the last decade as a venue for uncontrollable drinking and drunken violence. For $40-$60 people (mainly 21-40 year olds) could fill into the infield with their own coolers of beer but that was stopped in 2008. 2009 obviously saw a big decline in the “Infield Fest” attendance so in 2010 the Pimlico brass introduced Kegasus, a bloated half man-half horse rally mascot and the “Get Your Preak On” ad campaign was launched, ensuring that drinking to excess was still expected and encouraged. Now, since you can’t bring in your own, an extra $20 can get you a bottomless mug of beer which is good from 8:30am to the start of the race at 6:30pm. Not bad.
The internet is festooned with tons of videos of drunkeness at the Preakness. You could watch them all day. Here are a few:
From an article in the Baltimore Sun published last March:
Only hours old, the campaign was already garnering criticism for being tasteless and encouraging binge drinking. Jason Loviglio, director of media and communications studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, declared it “awful,” “depressing” and “sad,” but also predicted it would be quite effective.
“If the goal is to let them know they will be able to drink to excess, it does communicate that,” said Loviglio. “If there’s confusion about whether they’ll be able to pursue sunstroke and alcohol poisoning, seeing this, it’s clear indication that yes, they will.”
“When you see the promotions for the Kentucky Derby or even Belmont, they never highlight the ridiculous stuff, but it seems like Baltimore is banking on it,” says 35-year-old John Myers from Parkville, MD. “I’d love to see the infield be a place for drinking, but also a place where a family could picnic and see the horses. This makes me think of ‘Animal House.’ It doesn’t do anything for me at all.”
So is this the sloppiest event in America? I think it’s up there. I’ve never been to a big time horse race or even a racetrack for the matter but I’m close with a large group of people who make it down to the Preakness every year. These videos and photos prove their stories word for word.
I mean, what other American event gets this crazy/sloppy?? Spring Break? Ozz Fest? Those Country Fests that tour the country? Indy 500/Daytona? Coachella? Gathering Of The Juggalos? Your college’s spring weekend before finals?
Chime in if you’ve been to the Preakness or any of the above. Or let me know what the drunkest/sloppiest party in America is.