Preakness once again came and went and a full week later I feel like I’m still feeling it’s effects. The Infield will do that to you.
We did Preakness a little different this year. In the past we took a bus trip out of Philadelphia but this year, for various reasons, we decided to stay in Baltimore and make an entire weekend out of it.
Preakness often falls on the same weekend as several college graduations so hotels we book early. We initially wanted to stay in the Inner Harbor area but RSVPed too late. We ended up staying at The Holiday Inn Express at the Stadiums, located near the Federal Hill neighborhood, which ended up being a good thing, as all of our friends that live in Baltimore reside there.
Federal Hill in Baltimore is somewhat akin to Manayunk or Conshohocken outside of Philly–it’s a gentrified neighborhood where post grads settle and because of this houses a bevy of bars and restaurants and is a mecca for nightlife on the weekends.
Every year the night before Preakness we claim that we’re going to just “be low key.” I’m not sure why we lie every year because without fail “taking it easy” turns into last call and the morning isn’t ever pleasant. Friday night we went to dinner at Mother’s, a run of the mill sports bar before ending the night at C&R. If you’re in the Baltimore area, check it out. C&R stands for Cowboys and Rednecks. It solely plays country music and was a perfect pregame for watching Florida Georgia Line perform the next day.
Because we’re old, we didn’t get to the Pimlico Race Track till about 10:30 on Saturday morning. We found a cab much easier than I anticipated and it cost only $45.00 for six of us. The only downside for getting to the racetrack that late (most years we’re there by 8:30/9) is waiting in line. If you’re ever there, don’t arrive later than 10:30. My sister and cousin, who arrived separately from us waited over an hour to enter.
Once we got inside we took advantage of our Mug Club tickets ($70.00 for unlimited beer) and then proceeded to spend the day concert hopping. Florida Georgia Line came on at noon. They were pretty good but did a lot of rap and hip-hop covers which I’m still not sure I loved. Other years, maybe because we didn’t want to see all the performers, it felt like there was a lot more downtime between the acts, but this year seemed like we spent running from event to event.
Almost immediately after Florida Georgia Line stopped we rushed to the main stage to see Mackelmore, the newest white rapper and singer of “Thrift Shop” in case you’ve been living under a rock, who I clearly didn’t love as much as the rest of the crowd. I was more concerned with finding a lobster roll. He was entertaining, but I only know two songs of his, that and immediately after he was done, it started to rain.
We took refuge in one of the betting tents for a good 20 minutes and waited it out until it stopped full on pouring and settled on misting. Then, we ran back to the main stage to see the most surprising, and ultimately entertaining part of the day, the headliner: Pit Bull.
The funniest part about the Pit Bull concert, was the crowd. His music is generally catchy, you know more of it than you think, and the energy was contagious so everyone, wet and dressed like assholes (Preakness goers either dress super preppy or else like white trash) danced like they truly didn’t care. The funny part is that the typical Preakness demographics, is mid-20’s, suburban, and white. No place else will you find suburban white kids “breaking it down” in the pouring rain to “Get On the Floor.” It was pretty amazing.
By the time that was said and done it was time for the race. I got close to watching it. My friends were standing near the fence, but once again food won. I was much more into my hamburger than what was happening on the track.
We got a cab afterwards and had it drop us back off at Federal Hill. Our first stop was The Pub Dog, a cool little brewery and pizza joint where everything you order comes in pairs: beer, water, pizza, you name it. I’ve been to the Pub Dog before and really like it, but it was a little too laid back for our crowd who having just spent the day in the rain dancing and more or less acting like fools, wanted something a little more exciting.
We picked Magerks, a few doors down from Pub Dog with scores of other Preakness refugees, cheap wings, and a touchtunes jukebox which I spent way too much money on trying to play Africa before the DJ came on.
I didn’t realize till Sunday that once again, I saw no horses.