first published in the May 2021 Equiery
This past March, 1/ST (formerly The Stronach Group) and the Maryland Jockey Club announced that not only will the 146th Preakness Stakes run in May as the traditional middle jewel of the Triple Crown, but it will be open to a limited number of spectators. Officials stated on March 23 that 10,000 spectators will be allowed at Pimlico Race Course on May 14 for Black-Eyed Susan Day and May 15 for Preakness Day. The decision to include fans was made in consultation with and by approval of local and state health and government authorities according to the MJC March press release.
“We are thrilled to be able to welcome fans back to Pimlico Race Course for Preakness 146,” said Stronach Chairman and Chief Executive Officer and President of 1/ST Belinda Stronach. “While fan attendance will be limited due to COVID-19 protocols, the excitement of the Preakness is not limited. The 1/ST team has worked tirelessly and in cooperation with Baltimore City and the State of Maryland to thoughtfully and safely prepare for an exciting and memorable day of world-class Thoroughbred racing and entertainment.”
Those ticket holders who chose to carry over their tickets from the 2020 Preakness had the opportunity to relocate to the nearest equivalent seating area while the remaining tickets went on sale to the general public on April 5. Within 24 hours, all but two seating options on Preakness Day were sold out.
As of April 15, the only available ticket options for Preakness Day were the Turfside Terrace and Clubhouse Turn reserved seating. All ticket options for Black-Eyed Susan Day were still available as of April 9.
The traditional Infield Fest has been canceled for 2021 however, a new “Preakness Live” concert event has been scheduled in its place. This new, socially distant live musical component will run concurrently with the NBC broadcast and also will be livestreamed. The concert is geared to celebrate Baltimore’s richness and diversity.
Preakness fans can watch from home both on the NBC television networks and the livestream at https://www.nbcsports.com/horse-racing/preakness-stakes. Live coverage by NBC begins at 4:30pm EST with a Preakness post time of 5:45pm EST.
If you are one of the 10,000 racing fans on the grounds, MJC has put out a list of COVID-19 protocols that must be followed. Please note, these are the published protocols as of April 9. Please check https://www.preakness.com/health-safety for the latest protocols before heading to Pimlico.
1. MJC has re-imagined parking and seating locations to mitigate congestion at all access points. The Pimlico grounds will be divided into sections that correlate with ticketed areas. Each section will operate as its own stand-alone area with no crossovers allowed.
2. Points of entry for both guests and employees will be limited to allow for noninvasive temperature checks using thermal cameras. Any guest who shows a temperature over 100.4°F will be giving three opportunities to pass the temperature scan. If still above 100.4°F on the third scan, the guest will be asked to leave the property and will be offered a ticket refund.
3. Guests will also be required to pass a COVID questionnaire ensuring they have not knowingly been exposed to COVID-19 over the 14 days leading up to BESD and/or Preakness Day.
4. These entry checkpoints will be managed by a third party, non Preakness affiliated medical supervisor to ensure objective supervision.
5. For those who have already been vaccinated, there will be an expedited entry for any guest who shows proof of full vaccination with a COVID-19 Vaccine ID Card.
6. Hospitality areas will be oriented to account for six feet of distance between all parties with queue lines marked at such locations as restrooms, food and beverage stands and wagering windows.
7. Plexiglass has been installed to maintain physical separation and protection in areas that do not allow for six feet of separation.
8. Hand sanitizers have been placed around the venue and will be distributed at all entrances.
9. Masks will be required at all times except when actively eating or drinking.
10. MJC will have designated COVID Compliance Officers circulating the venue to remind guests to adhere to these policies.
11. All restrooms will have dedicated cleaning staff to disinfect after each use. All cleaning products and protocols meet EPA and CDC guidelines and are approved for use and are effective against the COVID-19 virus.
12. All food and beverage locations will serve individual concessions only, no buffets or shared services. Credit cards will be accepted at all locations.
13. Fans must eat and drink at their socially distant seats.
For more Preakness information, visit: https://www.preakness.com/