We are just about three days away from the second-most important horse race in the United States. Yes, it’s the 135th Preakness Stakes, and just in case you were hanging out in lovely Baltimore, MD this weekend and wanted to take in some racing, be forewarned, it might get messy. Come along with me as we get ready for Baltimore’s Mardi Gras (what, you thought I was going to talk about the actual race?):
For Jamie Myers, going to the Preakness and letting loose on the infield is a rite of passage, a youthful, bawdy tradition that, for better or worse, will always remind him of growing up in Baltimore.
Oh man, I really hope Jamie doesn’t have a real job. That’s a bad start. Most places don’t like the word “bawdy” associated with anything. And since it’s a word that probably hasn’t been used in a conversation between Baltimoreans this century, you know it’s really bad.
There are real photos and those just in his mind of the mind-boggling consumption [sic], the young women lifting their T-shirts, the epic carousing. He remembers that time when he and his buddies showed up outside Pimlico at 6 a.m. with two cases of beer, but by the time the gates opened at 9, they’d already drained it.
I think it’s pretty clear at this point Jamie is probably just your regular Federal Hill brah who slings beers at the local bar. “Yo, Hoyt, gotta come to Preakness, there’s going to be some epic carousing!” He can’t possibly have a job that requires any kind of decorum. Furthermore, how long has horse racing been a place where you drink beers at 6am and see girls popping their tops like it’s Spring Break in Cancun? Very brahsome.
Though he’s skipped it for a couple of years, the 34-year-old private school administrator…
No, brah! Nooooooooooo!!!!
Race officials have bent over backward to lure back revelers who abandoned the Preakness last year with the start of the BYOB ban. Badly needing them back, organizers brushed aside questions of taste and propriety to let young folks know that if they want debauchery, the Preakness is where they’ll find it. They announced cheaper tickets, hipper bands and a bikini contest. They broadcast a risque ad campaign urging former race-goers to come back and “Get Your Preak On.” They sent pretty girls out to hot spots in skimpy “Preak On” tank tops to cajole bar flies into buying tickets. And perhaps most vitally, they debuted a bottomless $20 mug of beer.
Translation: “Loyal booze hounds, we tried to clean things up. We wanted to discourage alcohol abuse and make it a more family-friendly environment. We failed. We’re desperate. We’re broke. We’re whores. Come to Preakness and feel free to drink yourself stupid on cheap beer. Mouthbreathers welcome.” What could go wrong?
Chris Glisson heard the call. They had him at bottomless beer.
At least he’s honest. Soon to be unemployed with Jamie, but honest.
The 28-year-old tech worker who lives in Fells Point is giving the race another chance, mainly because with all the talk of beer and babes, it sounds like the Preakness might have rediscovered its boozy fundamentals.
Well, he’s a “tech worker,” so there’s one guy who’s probably going to be doing a lot more gawking than fighting — that’s a good sign. P.S. I’d pay good money to hear Jay Bilas or Mel Kiper Jr. refer to a player’s “boozy fundamentals” during a draft broadcast. Somebody send this to Keith Law, I think he’d do it.
Glisson created an invitation of sorts on Facebook, hoping he can get his friends to return, too.
Offffffff course he did.
“It’s coming back,” he says of the Preakness. “In a way.”
Until the race goes broke and gets moved to a nicer track next year… Or someone gets drunk and dies trying to steal a horse… In that “way,” yes, it is coming back.
He thought the sheer possibility alone of the spectacle one might see worth the price of admission. “Where else do you go at 9 a.m. and there’s already a line of beer cans on the ground?” he says.
Just off the top of my head: Cancun, Key West, Acapulco, Panama City, Lake Havasu, every college football stadium on Saturdays in the fall and Keifer Sutherland’s house…
A little Sodom. Perhaps a sprinkle of Gomorrah.
We’re talking about Baltimore, right? I think you mean, “A little smack. Perhaps a sprinkle of gonorrhea.”
“I don’t want this turning into a Kentucky Derby thing with everyone laidback and sipping cocktails — that’s not Baltimore,” he says. “Preakness is a totally unique Baltimore thing. There’s nothing like it.”
Yes, there is. It’s called “Spring Break” and it happens every year in multiple cities all over the country. And the only unique thing about it being in Baltimore is that unlike every other party, it will never go away, no matter how much penicillin you take.
In other words, I’ll be there.