Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The end of The Freakness

I am up in Annapolis this week, visiting with my mom. The Preakness horse race was held this weekend at Pimlico racetrack in Baltimore. It was a great race. The first filly to win in 70+ years.

The more interesting story is the one in the local papers. The owner of the racetrack is out of money. They plan to auction off the track, which may result in the Preakness leaving Baltimore. So, if you are the owner in need of a lot of money, what do you do? How about finding a way to chase off 35,000 of your spectators?

The infield gathering at the Preakness is a HUGE party, often referred to as The Freakness. It seems to compare to the things I have heard about like the Kentucky Derby and the Indy 500. It gets pretty wild, so it is convenient that the families and respectable people are in the stands and the more energetic (drunken) people are off to themselves in the infield. When I went, I was in the infield. This year they decided not to let people bring any alcohol into the race. The result was a very calm, nearly empty infield. No drunken party. No topless women. No guys using the porta-potties as mountains to climb.

Also, no 35,000 people in the infield at $60 a person. I guess the owner sure showed them! Clever. My lesson: if you have a business plan where 35,000 people will come out to a party and pay you $60 per head and all you have to provide is a big field, some portajohns and a cleanup effort, take the $2.1M and be happy.
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