7 No-Horseplay Tips For Going to The Preakness
Thinking about going to the Old Hilltop to watch The Preakness at Pimlico in Baltimore for the second leg of the 2016 Triple Crown? It’s the third Saturday in May – of course, you’re going! (We also shared our tips for the Kentucky Derby infield!)
Horse racing! Drinking! Great food! Drinking! Gambling! Drinking!
We thought we’d share some several good tips for going to The Preakness Saturday afternoon.
7 Tips for Going to the Preakness
Some of these tips have been compiled from years of being a sports spectator and sports drinker. But there are a few that were shared by our editor, Gregg Sussman, who has recently attended The Preakness.
1. Pace Yo’ Self Before You Face Yo’ Self
Don’t go too crazy with the beer and booze in the early part of the day. Remember that it’s an all-day extravaganza in the sun before the race happens – and then figure it’s an hour before you leave and a few hours before you get back home. Sussman explains what happens when you’re the early drunk:
”Despite having no interest in getting out of bed after drinking heavily the night before, you force yourself up nice and early. Then you realize the shit-show you are in store for when your friends start passing the box of wine out on the bus to The Preakness. The shot-gunning of the beers start once the bus stops. As you step off the bus, you realize thousands of people your age are there doing the exact same thing, and it hits you that you are stuck here for the next nine hours. The sun is hot, it's tough to stay hydrated because all you really want to put in your body is alcohol, and you're starving. The infield in the Preakness is a marathon. If you start going nuts by 10am, you'll be the person getting pissed on by 3pm.” -- Sussman
2. Why Watch Horse Racing When You Can Just Hear It?
When you’re in The Preakness infield, you suddenly realize you don’t have a great seat to watch the race. Ideally, everyone else in the infield would lay down on the ground, and you could get on your buddy’s shoulders, but it’s doubtful they’ll let you do that.
”When I was a rookie Preakness goer, I was all excited to see Big Brown run. That was until I arrived there and realized we had no actual vantage point of a single horse. By the time 6:18 rolled around, I was one of the only people with my face against the fence trying to peek a view. Nobody in the infield actually cares about which horse is going to win or trying to place a bet. For those that haven't passed out by race time, your crew will be begging to leave when the action is actually just getting started. If you want to see the race in person, buy a better ticket. If you just want to see it at all, stay home.” – Sussman
3. Make Early Bets, As Not to Deal With Insanity
First, learn how to bet on horses before you go. It’s much different than gambling on most other sports. Get your bets in early if possible because the close you get to post time, the crazier it’s going to get over at the betting windows. Plus, you’ll likely be a little more inebriated by the time you place your late bets. Also, try not to ask which race the horse-faced cashier is running in – they don’t like that.
4. Porta Potties: The Human Circus of Stupidity
In 2007, when cell phones were finally being outfitted with video cameras, we got a first-hand look at the brainiacs at The Preakness porta potties.
”Stay away from the porter potties. I know this one is tough because you'll desperately have to go to the bathroom at some point, but the porter potties are terrifying. They are legendary for having drunk idiots run across them, only to get full beer cans thrown at their heads. If you are inside trying to relieve yourself, you may get trampled on. I fear for your life and your sanity. Also, please don't be the schmuck that decides to run across. What do you win? If you survive the run, congratulations! You just ran across a bunch of porter potties. If you don't survive, you get laughed at and you fall and hurt yourself and are a moron. If you survive, but get nailed with a full can of beer, well from what I've been told that really f**king hurts.” – Sussman
Do yourself a favor and read Rick Chandler’s 10 Greatest Moments From the Pimlico Infield.
5. The Mug Club is Both Your Friend and Enemy
The Infield Mug Club is a mug you buy that gets you all the beer you want at specific Mug Club locations in the infield. So a bottomless mug can certainly be your friend! But then again, drinking too much too early can definitely be your enemy.
If you bought this mug ticket ahead of time, like back in October, it would cost you $75. That’s for the drunk that thinks ahead.
But if you bought your ticket in April or May, you’d have to pay $105 – but it’s cool because with your ticket, you get “a complimentary, limited-edition InfieldFest 2016 souvenir cup.” … So … you’ve got that going for you. (By the way, if you didn’t buy the Mug Club ticket ahead of time, you’re likely not getting one.)
6. Buy Seats in the Stands – and Visit the Infield
Unlike Churchill Downs, you’re able to go into the infield and come back out whenever you want. So buy seats in the stands, so you can take a break once in a while!
7. Avoid Bad Things: Uber Over to the Track and Uber Back
Dealing with traffic and parking on your way to the race always sucks. Dealing with traffic and drunken fools around you on the way out sucks – now add the fact that one of you will have had to stop drinking long enough to be able to drive, and this is a downright buzzkill (nailed it).
So call on an Uber to take you to the track, then call another on the way out. By the time you add up what you’d pay for parking and gas, this is probably the smartest move of the day!
While everyone else is looking for horse-racing tips for the big race, you’re smartly reading our seven tips for going to The Preakness! Have fun!
Photo Credit: Patrick Smith, Getty Images
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