Take a look at the photo of today's Preakness infield and tell me what is missing.
If you answered, "The people," you win.
Pimlico Race Course decided this year to stop the long-standing tradition of allowing Preakness Stakes race-goers to bring their own alcohol to the track. And not just their own alcohol, but as much alcohol as they could carry or wheel into the place.
This tradition led to some interesting attractions. One favorite was the "Running of the Toilets," in which folks would dash drunkenly along the top of the Porta Potties while ROTT enthusiasts threw full cans of beer -- sometimes full cases of beer -- at them.
Another equally favorite pastime was the "Women Take Off Their Halter Top Contests." (You'll have to do your own YouTube search for that one. The Philly.com guys are getting unbelievably stuffy.)
And then the also-wonderful, "Beat the Crap Out of Each Other," exhibitions. And on and on.
The Preakness folks, for whatever reason, decided things had gotten out of hand and they instituted the no-carry-in policy this year, opting to sell their own beer ($1 from 9-12; $3.50 thereafter, no purchase limit).
We don't have the attendance figures yet, but, man, is it quiet out there. In the big years, there would be close to 50,000 in the infield from the total crowd of 110,000 or so. If there are 15,000 there today, that's generous. ZZ Top is playing later, so maybe it will perk up.
As predicted, Jensen arrived and told me that using Take The Points as part of a feature race bet was a stupid suggestion. He has how own theories and I don't think it would be right of me to reveal his key horse (subliminal hint: Musket Man), but we'll see soon enough who the smart guy is.
If you missed the earlier post that includes a gratuitous shot at Adam Eaton, you can find it here.