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Businesses Thrilled As Preakness Fever Takes Over Baltimore

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BALTIMORE (WJZ)– When the horses take the track for Saturday’s Triple Crown race, the nation’s eyes will be on Baltimore. Preakness weekend is filling the city’s streets, hotels and restaurants.

Kai Jackson has more on the excitement building all over Charm City.

Preakness week has given Baltimore and Maryland a big boost economically, and it’s not over yet.

With summer-like weather and thousands of people, Preakness week is off to a big start.

“There’s just so much energy in the air. It’s so cool, especially to see all the female jockeys who are so talented,” Doug O’Neill, trainer for the horse I’ll Have Another, said. “Kind of getting the shine today. It’s cool. Having a wonderful time.”

Gamblers may look forward to the race in Northwest Baltimore but business owners say the sure bet is the steady stream of revenue. The 137th running of the Preakness Stakes puts Baltimore in the national spotlight.

And so do events leading up to the day like the massive VIP party at Power Plant Live.

“This is an invaluable piece of Maryland’s history but it’s also an invaluable piece of our ongoing promotion the city,” Mike Evitts of Downtown Partnership said.

Hotels are booked. The new Four Seasons in Harbor East says it’s 90 percent full.

In recent years, the future of the Preakness in Maryland has been on shaky ground. Business owners admit they count on receipts from this weekend and say if the race left, it would be devastating.

Aldo’s in Little Italy says Preakness weekend is the business trifecta with the race, graduations and proms.

“I think without a doubt, without Preakness in Maryland, it would be devastating both personally and professionally,” Sergio Vitale of Aldo’s said.

The Downtown Partnership says while many restaurants and hotels are booked, they believe there will be plenty of places to dine before and after the race.

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