Reporting Jessica Kartalija
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The 137th running of the Preakness Stakes is in the books. A picture perfect day certainly helped draw record crowds.
Jessica Kartalija reports the race was a big boost for Maryland racing.
All eyes were on Baltimore Saturday for the 137th running of the Preakness Stakes. The race and infield festival drew record crowds to Pimlico Race Course.
“When you put on a first class racing act…you give the people what they want, they will come out,” said Tom Chuckas, president of the Maryland Jockey Club.
More than 121,000 people showed up on race day, wagering more than $80 million.
Saturday’s victory by I’ll Have Another is a big boost to the racing industry.
The team’s early arrival at Pimlico created excitement.
“The crowd was ballistic; they were crazed. It just keeps us on the map,” Chuckas said.
It’s the first time since 2008 that a horse has won the first two legs of the Triple Crown.
Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank also drew attention to Maryland racing with his first Preakness starter, Tiger Walk.
“There’s probably no other day in the world where people around the country, if not the world, look at the state of Maryland and say, ‘What’s happening there?’ and that’s the Preakness,” Plank said.
Maroon 5 performed at the Infield Fest, which proved popular with the crowds. This year, Pimlico doubled the number of vendors in the Corporate Village.
“It’s just a complete event. It’s like a festival out there,” Chuckas said.
I’ll Have Another will run the third leg of the Triple Crown on June 9. Record crowds are expected in New York.