Big Day At Pimlico

Even though it acts as one of the more exciting moments of the year and still elicits goosebumps from the cavernous crowd on hand, Pimlico Race Course looks like a bowling alley every other day of the year. Visiting the track on an afternoon without any live racing at the track last week, you could count the number of railbirds at the Sports Palace on an abacus. Waiting for the third race at Churchill Downs to begin, the bank of monitors lost its satellite signal. Here’s the amazing part – no one flinched. Don’t these people want to see how they were going to lose their money? When the signal reconnected a few minutes after the race, I found out that the longshot won the race and I lost four bucks.


For the last decade or so, Pimlico looks like the third race at Churchill. If they run races at “Old Hilltop,” will anyone notice?  On the most exciting day in Maryland racing, we only saw one Grade I race. If you look at the undercard of the Kentucky Derby or Belmont Stakes, the horseplayer almost salivates at the top shelf level of competition. Churchill Downs boasts two Grade I races in its undercard while you get three at Belmont. Pimlico has a grand total of zero Grade I stakes races before the big show of the Preakness Stakes.


Standing among the swelling crowd of over 100,000 on Preakness Day, you can’t help hide a smile or two. There’s something about a huge crowd that makes everyone feel a part of something special. When Big Brown romped past the rest of the atrocious field in the Preakness, I yelped that he would run all the way to Belmont Park. I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to all of those 50 or so people that I’m sure didn’t want to hear my voice when the number seven horse galloped past them.


Looking back on the full day at my fifth Preakness, I will freely admit the showcase race of the day acts as one of the most exciting events you will see in your life. It’s just too bad that the rest of the card looked like Big Brown’s competitors – completely overmatched.


One Response

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