Baltimore, MD - The build up is big, and it's safe to say it all begins with a green neon cup. Well before the horses hit the track, the party animals take to the infamous infield.
"There is only one infield party and you are here," announced Kegasus, Lord of the InfieldFest.
There’s music, a national volleyball tournament, corn hole, and plenty of drinking. No dry spot, but the party has calmed down since 2009 when beer from the outside was cut off.
The crowd size went down initially. This year, headliner Maroon 5 helped make the 137th running of the Preakness a record setter with over 121,000 people. The more tame setting doesn’t seem to be a problem.
"The games that they used to play where guys and girls would get up on top of the porta potties and run while people threw full bottles of beer at them, that's not anymore because they eliminated the ability to bring your own booze," said Dan Goddard, who was celebrating in the Infield.
The betting on the races throughout Preakness Day was over 80 million dollars, the sixth highest in Pimlico history.
"It's fun. Everyone's in a good mood. The horses are gorgeous. You win a little, you lose a little. You lose a lot," said Sharon Garry, who stuck to the Grandstand.
Over 10 hours after the gates opened, eleven horses came out of the gates for just under two minutes of pure Preakness excitement. Bodemeister was just a nose ahead of Kentucky Derby winner I'll Have Another until the finish line.
There was celebrating on the track, a rare site following the second jewel of horse racing's Triple Crown.
"He wasn't bought for millions of dollars, and you never know when you see young horses what they're going to develop into being. He's got the heart of a champion, the stride of a champion," said Doug O’Neill, I’ll Have Another’s trainer.
Baltimore's Preakness goes down in the history books, and I'll Have Another goes on for a chance to be the 12th Triple Crown winner.
"One of the greatest things that Baltimore has to offer is the Preakness itself, 137 years running," said Goddard.
The Belmont Stakes is on June 9th.
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