Preakness 137, or should I say People Watching 101?

Posted: May 21, 2012 in preakness

So I went to the Preakness this last Saturday, and no, I was not in the “beer”-soaked infield. I use the quotation marks because, let’s face it, most of what is sold as beer by Anheuser-Busch is nothing but horse piss. Yes, let’s pay a crazy sum of money for an aluminum bottle of stuff that anyone with a halfway refined palate will tell you tastes remarkably like turpentine. More on this in another post.

See, The Management’s family has been going to Preakness since the legendary battle between Affirmed and Alydar. They started in the infield, then moved to the apron and have had seats on the rail for around 30 years. They are some great seats… right at the starting gate for some of the races, and a spot that allows you to see the Preakness field pass by twice. We’re usually close enough to see whoever NBC trots out to cover things these days, and we’re pretty much right across the track from where they saddle the field.

I’ve been going along on the grand adventure since 2003. We missed a year due to a wedding, but that’s usually where you can find us on the third Saturday in May. I call it a grand adventure because it has really become a tradition for us. We usually take Friday off and head to my sister-in-law’s place in South Jersey for preface feasting. This usually entails most of the folks going racing hanging out, eating a lovely meal, and figuring out new and creative ways to smuggle booze in through the “watchful” eyes of Pimlico security. It’s funny, actually, a bunch of 40+ year olds acting like high school kids trying to smuggle some hooch on a class trip. Not that I ever did anything like that.

The setup is legendary. After 9/11, Pimlico banned coolers in the stands. Everything must be in clear bags or containers. My sister-in-law found two portable drawer units that have clear drawers and can be disassembled for easy transport. This is the basis for The Preakness Buffet. She loads it with vast quantities of yummy stuff and it provides sustenance for the entire day. And beyond.

I’m happy to report that it was a good day for me food-wise. I didn’t overdo it on snacks, had a sandwich, a pickle spear, some cheese and grapes and two red Twizzlers. Add a couple of sips of a Black-Eyed Susan (the official drink of the Preakness) and it was good.

The racing is pretty good. This year there were 13 official races and one bonus race sponsored by Emirates Airlines featuring only Arabian horses. We’ve seen some bad racing and some tragic racing (we were there for Barbaro) but this year the main event really lived up to its billing. Bodemeister looked great as they hit the stretch, but I’ll Have Another wasn’t going to be denied. I have a short video clip that I put together to share with you, my loyal readers.

This brings me to one of the highlights of the day. People watching. This is a great place to see sartorial disasters, abject stupidity, and everything in between. First of all, though… the rant. When did people get to be so rude? I was in the grandstand taking an air conditioning break and as I walked through the building, I stopped to allow someone to cross in front of me. Behind me, some douche canoe says, “Get your fat ass out of my way.” It was kind of ironic, seeing as the person saying this wasn’t exactly what you would call svelte. Sigh.

Some of the fashion disasters I came across included a guy wearing madras pants and saddle shoes (no kidding… saddle shoes). There were overage bimbos wearing dresses so tight that if said dress was not occupied by said bimbo, said aforementioned dress would contract to the approximate size of a postage stamp. Here’s one of my favorites:

Sartorial splendor

Rest assured that the good outweighs the bad. I will be back with you in a couple of days, probably a bit more on topic.

Have a great week!

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