Power Cap

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28 March 2010

Keg Party Back On At The Preakness

After banning outside purchased adult beverages the Maryland Jockey Club had a major volte face for 2010. This alcohol consumption change in policy is an good example of reactive management. If the about face for 2009 was not shocking enough there is another for 2010. The result of last year's decision to ban beer filled coolers resulted in disappointing attendance numbers for the Preakness. After one year of no cheap beer the point was proven that the only people that care about racing are old degenerates and the horse owners.

large infield crowd for Preakness 2008 with cheap beer available

It looks like in response to the attendance failure of Preakness 2009 Pimlico is once again creating an infield that will look like a high school keg party. $20 will buy you a mug and they will fill up that mug with cheap beer until you can not stand upright anymore. With large amounts of alcohol intoxicating a demographic already known for rowdiness there will likely be brawls, a few rapes and an infield that will be systemically filled with vomit.

an empty infield characterized Preakness 2009 as outside beer was banned

Look for another volte face in 2011 for the Preakness as the ugliness of Preakness 2010 confronts management face-on. Our "play of the day" predicts that the 2011 Preakness infield will be as dry as a PTA meeting and the MJC will enforce a strict dress code of suits and skirts down to the ankles. After accounting for the debauchery that will be Preakness 2010 the MJC will come to the conclusion that they are running a classic horse race, not a teenage keg party.

photo credit: Washington Post


malcer said...

I found the original BYO ban hyperbolical, but the U-turn they're making now is simply idiotic.

Chances are that with a "bottomless keg" the 2010 Preakness infield will now be indeed as rowdy as the media made the old ones look, as the hardcore frat boys will turn up, but many of the other former infield regulars likely won't.

The MJC's flip-flopping on the infield issue is right out of "10 Ways to Burn your Business"

Steve Zorn said...

And, with Stronach's sleight of hand to call off the bankruptcy auction, these guys get to remain as management. Sad.

Teresa said...

I'm not sure why they care so much about attendance; without the infield drunks last year, handle was up, and isn't that really what matters? Unless they harbor some thought that those who inhabit the infield on Preakness day will become track regulars?

Amateurcapper said...

The alcohol goes back to Alfred G. Vanderbilt's decision to vote for alcohol at the Preakness when he was part of the board at Pimlico. They wanted to increase attendance. It seems Magna wants the same thing.

Teresa, the handle response is a fact, but it may be more a function of nearly all internet wagering platforms offering Derby (and Oaks) wagering.

Magna wants bodies in the infield, preferably drunk ones, where the intoxication can lead to purchasing of stuff, any and all stuff. Whether it's tickets, merchandise, or food/drink it seems they want uninhibited spending to rule the infield.

Unfortunately, as Power Cap writes, the degenerate behavior also comes out.

malcer said...

Isn't that precisely the kind of thinking that got racing where it is now? 'What do we need an audience for? Those gambling degenerates will keep coming back anyway'? And do you honestly think that handle was up *because* of the empty infield?

The infield was/is a huge part of the institution that is the Preakness. And 'institution' is almost the only reason why people come to the track on a handful of American racedays. It's why Belmont draws 50.000 to the Belmont Stakes even if they hardly ever crack five figures on other Stakes-laden cards.

And yes, some percentage of Pimlico's bettors indeed came into contact with racing through the infield experience (which, relieable sources assured me, was overwhelmingly not stupid-drunk). May have been just 5 or 15%, but now it's zero. But then again, who needs customers?