"The Preakness is a tradition," said Levine, who said he graduated years ago from the infield to the grandstand. "It's just a lark."
-- Lorraine Mirabella
Neighbors near Pimlico ready for more infield fans Updated 11:26 a.m. |
Pimlico's neighbors were up bright and early on Preakness Day, taking part in the neighborhood ritual of loaning out their yards and driveways as parking spaces.
"It's going to be a good day, I can feel it," said Terry Davis, whose been selling parking spaces at his home on Hayward Avenue for 15 years. "The sun is out, couldn't ask for a better day."
But, it's not good weather that Davis was praying for this year.
He wanted to make more than the measly $150 that he made from sales at last year's Preakness, when attendance plummeted due to a ban on attendees bringing alcohol. In years past, Davis said he made at least $600 selling the spaces at $20 and $30 a piece.
"Last year was horrible," Davis said, upon returning from parking his fourth car at around 10:30 a.m.
"It's a hard economy, and I just didn't make nothing. It was bad."
But it's not only the money brings Davis out to court the first of the Preakness crowds.
"This is a ritual for me," he said, before running off to flag a car.
"It's our neighborhood tradition. I wouldn't miss it."
-- Erica Green
BYOB lives ... just in the parking lot Updated 11:09 a.m. |
Infield revelers might not be able to bring their own outside beverages anymore, but that didn't stop them from pre-gaming in Pimlico's parking lots. At 10 a.m., Nick Zemil, a 22-year-old senior at the University of Maryland College Park, stood in a grassy lot and sipped a can of Natural Light with two of his friends.
"We found this lot and figured, 'Let's set up camp,'" he said.
Zemil attended two Preaknesses, but skipped last year when the Maryland Jockey Club banned outside beverages from the infield. This year's bottomless mug deal -- all you can drink for $20 -- lured him back, he said. His two companions had never been to Preakness before.
"They're loosening up the rules a little bit, and I thought I'd enjoy it," he said. "I'm here with a bunch of Preakness virgins. We're trying to bring it back."
Ainsley Ashton, a junior at the University of Pittsburgh, drove to Pimlico from the Wilmington area with seven of her friends to see the rock band O.A.R. None of them had been to Preakness before, and only two bought Mug Club tickets. They stood in a parking lot outside the race course, drinking Bloody Marys. Though Ashton had never been to Pimlico before, she usually watches on TV, she said, and has some idea of what the infield is going to be like later today.
"I feel like it's going to be a good college scene, with all of the socialites up in the stands," she said.
-- Sam Sessa
People watching trumps horse racing Updated 11:03 a.m. |
Even in the infield the race still matters. But maybe not to the folks running Pimlico.
In one spot where you could actually see the horses and people actually cared about a winner, the JumboTron showed people in the stands instead of one of the 12 early races before the Preakness.
"I bet, and I can't see nothing," said Randy Tipton of Middle River, attending his 28th Preakness. "They got a big TV, and all they're showing are peoples heads."
Dozens yelled profanities as they strained to see across the track to the boards displaying the winning horses. "Who won?" one man shouted.
"Who knows?" Tipton said. "I sent my father to find out."
-- Peter Hermann
Super Saver profile leads off Preakness TV on NBC Updated 10:19 a.m. |
NBC's coverage of the Preakness Stakes starts at 4:30 p.m. today, and it leads off with an outstanding look at the Kentucky-Derby-winning horse, Super Saver, and the team that surrounds him.
Even if you are only slightly interested in horse racing (I am no fan), I predict you will be impressed and caught up in this production from Emmy-Award-winners Rob Hyland and Jack Felling. The feature they did last year on Derby winner Mine That Bird won the Eclipse Award for best television feature. Read more on the Z on TV blog
-- David Zurawik
The beer starts flowing and it's not even 10 a.m. Updated 9:45 a.m. |
Even before 10 in the morning the line at one beer tent stretched out into the infield. Several hundred people all with $20 bills in hand were waiting for their bottomless cups of beer.
One 23 year old had his first promptly at 8:30 a.m. and was on number five by 9:45 a.m.
"First out the gate," he said.
Added his friend, "We'll lose count soon enough."
The bikini contest was still more than an hour away.
-- Peter Hermann
Crowd light as gates open Updated 9:40 a.m. |
John Kilpatric and others from the Frederick American Legion had boarded two school buses at 6:45 Saturday to head to Pimlico to be volunteer ushers and get a chance to watch the race up close.