Gloomy weather depressed on-track wagering for the 127th Preakness Stakes (gr. I), but interest in the race around the country helped Pimlico Race Course set several wagering records.
Total commingled handle on the 13-race Preakness day card rose 15.3% to a record $64,498,419, up from last year's total commingled handle of $55,945,864. Handle was unquestionably helped by an additional race on this year card, but the Preakness was primarily responsible for the growth.
The Preakness attracted a record $42,301,515 in commingled wagers, which was 19% higher than last year's handle of $35,532,864. Out-of-state wagering on the premier event increased 21% to $38,962,074.
Attendance was 101,138, the second highest in Pimlico history behind last year's record crowd of 104,454.
Poor early morning weather and low temperature, however, caused people to drift in throughout the morning and early afternoon so on-track wagering on the Preakness card fell 7.4% to $5,545,660, down from $5,988,910 last year. On-track wagering on the Preakness itself also suffered, falling 8.8% to $2,130,486, down from $2,336,373 last year.
Many fans apparently chose to watch the races from the nearest of the Maryland Jockey Club's three off-track betting parlors, Laurel Park, or the Rosecroft harness track. The Preakness day card and all the simulcast races offered through Pimlico attracted an in-state record handle of $10,403,781, an increase of nearly 1% over last year's $10,308,817 in-state handle. In-state wagering on the Preakness and undercard only dropped 1.9% to $7,769,753, while wagering on the Preakness Stakes alone rose 3.1% to $3,339441, up from $3,239,110 a year ago.