A sunny day awaits fans at Pimlico.

A sunny day awaits fans at Pimlico.

Rick Samuels

Preakness Day: Sun Should Draw Fans

Large crowd for Preakness 137 expected on picture-perfect day.

With bright sunshine and a forecast for a high temperature of 80 degrees and little humidity, Preakness 137 is looming as a picture-perfect day that should lure a large crowd to Pimlico Race Course.

Favorable weather for May 19 and an infield band lineup that includes Grammy Award winners Maroon 5 and multi-platinum rapper Wiz Khalifa, Maryland Jockey Club officials are anticipating a crowd that would exceed last year’s 107,398 but would fall short of the record 121,263 that witnessed a win by Curlin  in 2007.

Following the 2007 race, MJC changed its alcohol policy to preclude racegoers from bringing their own adult beverages and have since been adapting to the change by adding more infield concessions.

“I don’t think we will ever see that record exceeded,” said Mike Gathagan, vice president of communications for MJC. “We had a great crowd of more than 30,000 here yesterday (May 18) for the Black-Eyed Susan and will probably see more than 112,000 today.”

Meanwhile on Saturday, with the track closing early for training due to the 10:30 a.m. first post time, many trainers sent their Preakness horses out early for some light exercise.

One trainer on hand who is sitting out this Preakness, Todd Pletcher, was observing the activity from the backside while accepting congratulations for the Black-Eyed Susan triumph of In Lingerie.

Pletcher said the filly was game in winning the grade II stakes despite popping a blood vessel in her pastern when she stumbled as the race began. He said the minor injury will be treated with antibiotics.

In handicapping the Preakness, Pletcher said he believes the top finishers in the race will likely come from the four horses that were among the top five in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).

“The horse I am interested in watching is Creative Cause  because he ran a good race in the Derby and I want to see how he comes back,” said Pletcher. 

Creative Cause ran fifth in the Derby, three lengths behind winner I'll Have Another .

Pletcher, who started Gemologist  and El Padrino  in the Derby, does not have a Preakness starter for the first time since 2008.