Preakness, Belmont Stakes Foreshadowed By Kentucky Derby Record Crowd

With Preakness and the Belmont Stakes just around the corner, the events at the 138th Kentucky Derby on May 5, 2012 give us some idea of what to expect. On the day of the “Run for the Roses,” there was record-breaking crowd that also brought in one of the biggest betting pools. The anxiety level among the spectators may not have been easy to measure, but this year’s odds – with impossible to pick favorites – were an indicator.

Now, many of the same horses are following I’ll Have Another up to the gate to see if they can right any wrongs from their performance at the first of the three 2012 Triple Crown legs. With the odds for the 2012 Kentucky Derby winner set at 15-1, it is likely that the Preakness and Belmont Stakes will also have bettors looking at the long shots.

What we do know about the Preakness is that the field has narrowed. The Kentucky Derby featured 20 horses and the Preakness will par it down to 14. The New York Times reports that I’ll Have Another was quick to accept the Preakness invitation, but other trainers are not feeling the same way.

Dullahan, Went the Day Well, Union Rags, and Bodemeister are all considering sitting out of the second part of the Triple Crown. So far, Hansen will be joining I’ll Have Another at the 137th Preakness Stakes on Saturday, June 9.

One horse that we will not see at the Preakness or the Belmont Stakes is Take Charge Indy. After winning the Florida Derby he maintained an injury at the Kentucky Derby that requires surgery.

With all of these top racehorses sitting out of the race, are there any unexpected contenders in the field? From the ashes appears the lesser-known Trinniberg.

In addition to the horses, there is also the matter of the grandstands. Like the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness has a notorious Infield that is similar to Mardi Gras. Regardless, the has had several organized Preakness “crack downs” on partying. Will this attitude hold true for 2012?

This effort to turn Maryland’s horse racing event into a “family-friendly event” could mean that the Preakness has a smaller crowd and lower betting pool than the 2012 Kentucky Derby. This is especially true if organizers are hoping to curb advertising and references to the Preakness as the “Best Party in Baltimore.”

In 2008, the fans reacted to the ban on outside alcohol at the Preakness by not attending. For this reason, 2009’s attendance was down 30 percent. The hemorrhage of cash led the Preakness organizers to changing their mind about a child-friendly place of business.

In 2010, a tradition was started by the racetrack to encourage attendants to “Get Your Preak On”. Last year’s race had the party emphasized by a centaur named “Manimal”. Manimal is the celebrated assistant to “Kegasus” (half keg and half Pegasus).

Along with this party spirit, the attendance at the Preakness will follow. The Kentucky Derby had over 165,000 attendants while the 2011 Preakness had 107,000.

However, the 2012 Preakness is likely to draw in the party animals with another half-man based on a mystical being. This time, the additional assistant of Kegasus will be a half-man and half-unicorn named “UniCarl.”

Finally, the attendance capacity at the Belmont Stakes is officially 85,000. Sadly, this means that they may never transcend the stats of the 2012 Kentucky Derby by half.  In 2011, the Belmont Stakes brought in about 56,000.

Of course, if a Triple Crown winner emerges from the Preakness, the grandstands at the Belmont Stakes will be overflowing.  Will 2012 be the year that every seat at this racetrack will be sold out?

Either way, the number of betting tickets that can be purchased are infinite.

Published On May 10, 2012