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Preakness Organizers Have Eye On Major Comeback

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Preakness organizers hope to draw 100,000 people this weekend.
Rebecca Sheir
Preakness organizers hope to draw 100,000 people this weekend.

By Rebecca Sheir

The second jewel in horse racing's Triple Crown is just around the corner. Organizers of the Preakness Stakes have their eye on a major comeback for the 135-year-old race.

At today's race at Pimlico Race Course, the scores and scores of seats arranged for this weekends Preakness Stakes are, for the most part, empty.

But Tom Chuckas, President of the Maryland Jockey Club, is optimistic about a major upswing in attendance from 2009, for Maryland's signature sporting event on Saturday.

"Last year we were down to about 78,000," he says. "But, the more merrier! We hope to be in excess of 100,000 this year."

Chuckas says the positive weather forecast will help, as will the Preakness Stakes new - and much-talked-about - marketing slogan, Get Your Preak On.

"You know, how do people get their 'Preak' on?," he asks. "For someone up in our dining room, a fine glass of wine, watching the race, a nice meal, might be how he or she gets their preak on. Someone in the infield might be watching O.A.R., Zac Brown - we have two stages out there - whatever, that's how they do."

Chuckas says preparing for the Preakness is a Herculean task: "its like a Superbowl here," he says, so when asked how he'll get his Preak on, he says hell be running around from the crack of dawn to the middle of the night, making sure everything goes off without a hitch.

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