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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET


Lee Ross

Supreme Court


Beer Enticement to Attend 2010 Preakness

March 22, 2010 - 4:32 PM | by: Lee Ross

Attention college students: Pimlico Race Course wants you to come back and drink lots of its beer.

That appears to be the message coming from the operators of Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, home of the Preakness Stakes, the middle jewel of horse racing’s Triple Crown.

Last year’s running will be remembered by racing fans for Rachel Alexander’s brilliant victory that propelled her to horse of the year honors. But it will also be noted for the steep drop in attendance–especially in the track’s infield–attributed to an alcohol policy that made the annual event less desirable for young adults.

For this year’s running on May 15, Pimlico officials are offering infield patrons an all you can drink option. For $20 people get a souvenir mug and the ability to drink all of the beer they can consume.

The infield scene at Pimlico on Preakness day had become well-known for its rowdiness with mostly college-aged people jamming into the spacious center of the historic track. Mass drunkenness was commonplace as people were allowed to bring in as much of their own alcohol as they could physically carry–often in coolers wheeled in the early hours of race day.

Prompted by safety concerns, Pimlico changed its policy in 2009 and prohibited anyone from bringing in their own alcohol. Attendance dropped by more than 30% from the year before. By post time of the Preakness, vast stretches of green grass were visible, an unusual sight from past years including 2007 when a record 121,263 people attended the race.

The $20 all you can drink deal comes with a catch: it’ll cost you $50 on race day ($40 in advance) to buy your ticket to get into the infield.

It is also restricted to a certain part of the infield that Pimlico is calling the “Mug Club” and is only accessible to people who are at least 21 years old.