The Maryland Jockey Club has joined local, state, and federal law enforcement and other government agencies to develop and implement a thorough series of safety and security procedures May 17-18 for the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes and Preakness Stakes, respectively.
The Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course ranks as one of the largest single-day sporting events in the country, the MJC said. Last year, a record 104,454 patrons were on hand, and at least 80,000 have been in attendance for 18 consecutive years.
The new procedures include several limitations on the types of items that may be brought to the Baltimore racetrack, and a significant increase in the presence of uniformed security personnel in areas throughout the track.
The Baltimore City Police Department, Baltimore City Fire Department, Maryland National Guard, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Secret Service, and Baltimore City Office of Transportation have all worked with Pimlico officials in the development of the security policies.
"We greatly appreciate all of the invaluable input and help from all of the people who have worked so diligently to put this plan together," MJC president Joe De Francis said. "The safety and security of our fans is and will always be our No. 1 priority. We are confident that these new procedures will enable us to accomplish that priority while allowing our fans the opportunity to enjoy the tradition, fun, and excitement of the middle jewel of racing's Visa Triple Crown with a minimum of inconvenience."
All bags, purses and containers will be inspected at all public entrances to Pimlico. There will be increased numbers of security personnel at the track; higher visibility of uniformed Baltimore police security personnel, supplemented by officers in plain clothes; and all vehicles that enter the Pimlico main gate at Hayward and Winner Avenues will be inspected both days.
Throughout Preakness week, barriers will be placed around specific areas at the track and backstretch. There will be enhanced security measures at the Preakness Stakes Barn and in the press box. Vendors and deliveries will be routinely identified, recorded, and inspected the week of the race.
The following items are permitted in the grandstand/clubhouse:
- Beer, wine, and soda
- Picnic lunches (all beverages and food items must be carried in clear plastic bags or clear plastic containers no larger than 18 inches by 18 inches.
- Beach blankets
- Suntan lotion
- Cellular phones, cameras (up to 35 millimeter), camcorders, and binoculars
- Folding Chairs
The following items are banned in the grandstand/clubhouse:
- Coolers, backpacks, and thermoses
- Glass containers of any type
- Handcarts or wheeled carts
- Liquor or drugs
- Kegs of beer
Those policies will also apply to the Pimlico infield and new seating area at Turfside Terrace, except that coolers, backpacks, and thermoses will be permitted only in the infield and Turfside Terrace.
Pimlico will make ice readily available for customers to purchase at discount prices, and is also evaluating making Styrofoam coolers available for sale. Pimlico will open additional concessions stands, and also offer customers the option to make advance reservations for a Hilltop Express boxed lunch by calling the Preakness Ticket Sales office at (410) 542-9400, or toll free at (877) 206-8042, ext. 300.