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Preakness Attendance Could Jump 5,000

Attendance would be near the levels prior to a ban on outside alcohol at Pimlico Race Course.

Preakness Attendance Could Jump 5,000

The running of the 137th Preakness Stakes could draw 5,000 more spectators than it did the year before, according to the Baltimore Business Journal.

The publication quotes Tom Chuckas, president of the Maryland Jockey Club, as saying he’s "cautiously optimistic" that as many as 112,000 fans could attend the race.

Last year that 107,398 people watched Shackelford outrun Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom at Pimlico Race Course to win the $1 million purse.

The crowds have slowly been returning to the track after it banned the long-standing tradition of allowing fans to bring outside alcohol to the track after elected officials and police voiced concerns after the 2008 race.

But in 2009 race attendance fell to 77,850, down from 112,222 the year before, according to Thoroughbred Times.

In the last few years the Maryland Jockey Club has launched an aggressive marketing campaign featuring a to promote the race, and has started to help drive attendance back up.

The Preakness Stakes will be run on May 19 when 2012 Kentucky Derby winner I'll Have Another will take the next step in its attempt to be the first Triple Crown winner since 1978.

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