Rain Not Dampening Preakness Spirit

Rain Not Dampening Preakness Spirit
Photo: AP Photo/Matt Houston
Katie Alexa of Erie, Pa., a veteran of previoius Preaknesses reads her racing form as she attends the Preakness Day activities at Pimlico.
Nearly an inch of rain fell overnight in Baltimore and Preakness Day dawned dark and blustery, but it hasn't dampened the spirit of fans who were making their way to Pimlico. The infield crowd is light, but it's early. There was a steady stream of patrons entering the track this morning dressed for the weather, and as usual, toting in their own food and beverages.

Last year's record attendance of 104,454 won't be threatened this year amid the conditions and heightened security procedures, but there is hope on the horizon.

The local weather forecast calls for the rain to subside by noon, with windy and clearing conditions throughout the afternoon. John Passero, the track superintendent, will have his crew working throughout the day to get the track as good as possible by the Preakness. Post time for the second jewel of the Triple Crown is 6:09 p.m. EDT.

Few of the entrants for the Preakness Stakes have had experience over a wet surface:

Magic Weisner, the Maryland-bred hope for the Preakness, won a non-winners of one "other than" at Laurel Park last December over a sloppy track. The son of Ameri Valay came from sixth position early to win by a neck going 1 1/16 miles.

Straight Gin broke his maiden over a "good" track at Gulfstream Park in early February. Harlan's Holiday and Booklet battled over a wet-fast track at Gulfstream in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. I) on Feb. 16. Booklet prevailed by a nose going 1 1/16 miles.

Proud Citizen lost by a neck in his debut last June over a sloppy track at Belmont going five furlongs. He also ran fifth, beaten eight lengths' over a muddy track at Saratoga last July 26 in the six-furlong Sanford Stakes (gr. II).

Equality won an allowance race at Gulfstream on Feb. 11 over a good track. In an allowance race originally scheduled for the turf, the Pin Oak Stud homebred pulled away to a 16 ½-length score against four rivals.

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