By Meymo Lyons
The Preakness Stakes has been a Maryland tradition for 136 years, but something was missing in 2009--tens of thousands of spectators, who stayed home after their beer coolers were banned.
Organizers of the Preakness Stakes are trying to bring the party back to the infield. Infield ticket sales for the second leg of the Triple Crown dipped 31 percent last year after organizers banned spectators from bringing their own beer.
This year, infield admission has dropped by $10, to $40. And revelers can drink unlimited beer if they buy a 16-ounce mug for $20.
Organizers have also booked younger-skewing musical acts O.A.R. and the Zac Brown Band.
The Maryland Jockey Club has launched a racy marketing campaign, to mixed reviews, with the slogan - "Get Your Preak On" - a take off on a suggestive hip hop song by Missy Elliot.
The Jockey Club says so far ticket sales are just shy of 2008's numbers.
The Preakness is the largest single-day sporting event in Maryland, exceeding 100,000 people in the last eight out of ten years.