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February 5, 2009

Have you been to Preakness recently? Call me ASAP.

Here's the number -- 410.332.6689

And here's an email --

Starting this year, you're not going to be able to bring beer or water bottles to the infield. You can bring food in coolers. There will also be performances by ZZ Top and Buckcherry. Here is more information. I want to know what you think about it ASAP.

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:08 PM | | Comments (24)


Yes, I (now) used to go to the Preakness all the time. I can only assume that they think I'd be willing to spend exorbitant prices for drinks.

They can go ahead and assume that I will be watching the Preakness every year they run it - from my house. I make a pretty good bartender there, and nobody's trying to take my money there either (The Mrs. notwithstanding!)...

It's will change everything!

I have never been to preakness, but have been to derby several times. This has always been the rule at Derby. Since 9/11 Derby rules started restricting even more. I always thought it was crazy you could take beer in Preakness...

I'm betting that they won't need as many people to clean the infield this year.

Since you can bring food in, could you inject a sub sandwich with vodka? Perhaps hollow out a watermelon, fill it with booze and put a cork in it?

Why would I pay $50 to be crammed into the infield with 100,000 other "people" when it will now cost me a week's salary to get wasted?

Smooth move, MDJC. You can finally kiss The Preakness goodbye.

So what do sunners think? Down 20 percent? This shows what the jockey club thinks about horseracing.

Who is going to do the Running of the Port-a-potties sober? The end of an era.

I started going to Preakness at age 15, and we would bring in coolers full of Icehouse beer (because it was the highest alcohol content beer you could find in a can). My friends drove me to an inner city liquor store, the kind with bullet proof matter between parton area and cashier, and I would buy us our beer because I was the tallest and the ballsiest (not sure if I can say ballsiest on MS). Yes, you read that right - 15, and the drinking age was indeed 21. So most likely if this new rule was in effect, I would not have been served by the stands selling beer - and how is that fair?

I do remember when they banned kegs because people were throwing kegs in the air. That was a good decision.

The money made on the selling of beer and other beverages will more than offset the high school and college light weights that only spent money for the Infield ticket.

15 beers sold will be the equivalent of some knucklehead that would of been passed out by noon anyway.

Smaller crowd + a concert + no threat of being hit by some dope throwing a beer can = Brilliant decision.

I think theis is Pimlico's best chance to keep the Preakness. While lots of people love the infield, its an embarassment for MDJC, Pimlico and Baltimore. I think they will still get a lot of people, and they might start to draw people who are interested in horse racing, which is what the racing industry really needs, not one day's ticket sales from people who don't come any other day of the year. I bet their revenues from the infield don't drop much at all.

sam, you need to find a way to get the vodka sub comment into the paper. or a good recipe

Quite an enormous risk they're taking considering the economic climate and the state of Pimlico for the past, oh, forever.

Guartanteed their revenue will drop. Using 15 beers per ticket sold as what it would take to make up a ticket price, and knowing that I years and years ago filled a bus of people coming from Towson U., at least 30 of which were underage, they will have to sell 450 beers to make up for the lost revenue. Figuring in the tight economy and the 10's of thousands of 17-22 year olds who dont want to pay $125 dollars to drink in the sun and see ZZ top, I am not sure how anyone could see this as a good decision.

I think this was a necessary decision. Come on people - you must admit it has gotten out of hand. People throwing full beer cans in the air as hard as they can all day long? I mean I love a good party but it's turned into a madhouse that is just too over the top. I was hit square in the middle of my back with a full beer can a few years ago and it freakin hurt! I really don't like the feeling of worrying about getting hit in the head or something all day.

Anyone who's been to Preakness recently AND is a responsible adult understands that this was unavoidable.

Going to the event, regardless of your personal behavior, became a dangerous proposition when morons decided throwing full beers across the infield was a reasonable thing to do.

I'm not likely to go to Preakness anymore, but I wasn't going to go back anyway after my most recent experience. As is so often the case, the actions of a select few ruined the experience of the majority.

Congratulations, idiots.

Kulesz, thanks for making the argument as to why they SHOULD make the changes. A bus full of underage drunk kids is something nobody wants. Stay at home and play video games or something.

Rick, great call, once again you have proven you can't read. Fairly certain that i said "years and years ago". Please re-read clown. Have fun rocking out with ZZ Top. By the way never said I was in favor or against the change. I just said I guaranteed the revenue would drop.

I agree with AK
You knew this was coming after the all the photos/articles of drunken debauchery posted on the Sun, and other blogs over the last few years. The Preakness has become a punchline on Deadspin & Gawker. Anyone remember the guy that ran out on the track to punch the horse in a drunken haze, or the huge fight that broke out a few years back.
This won't "kill" the Preakness, but it will end it as our generation has known it. Just like the old HFSestivals.

Here's what I think about it:

Kulesz: I can read and you said "least 30 of which were underage". If charging for beer will prevent the underage kids from gaining access to beer, then it makes it even more worth while. It may keep the "party animals" out, but those spaces will be filled by people who haven't gone before because of the horror stories told about the infield.

It was a rite of spring and like the hfstival, a local tradition where once a year, anything goes.Its a real shame that the bleeding hearts, who want to protect us from ourselves, have won out again. I predict the demise of Preakness unless the anti-BYOB rule is reversed.

There will likely be people who will now come that wouldn't have before, and have money to spend on beer. Plus, it costs a lot to clean up post-Preakness. I bet there is a savings to be had there, as well.

I may be one of those people who would consider coming for the first time. My friends went when we were in college, and I had no desire to put myself in that situation. In my old age, I appreciate rules that will keep the amateurs away. High priced beers and ID will at least make them think twice.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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