WASHINGTON - What comes to mind, when you think of horseracing?
Men in seersucker suits, perhaps, accompanied by stately ladies with giant hats adorning their carefully coiffed heads, sipping mint juleps in the grandstands?
If that's your vision, you haven't been to Ballmer, hon.
The Preakness Stakes runs this weekend at Baltimore's Pimlico Race Course. And for much of its 137-year history, the middle jewel in horseracing's Triple Crown has acted like it has middle-child syndrome, clamoring for attention by bringing a little "Girls Gone Wild" to the sport of kings.
That sense of debauchery got out of control in 2007, when an Internet video surfaced showing infield revelers running across the tops of Pimlico portajohns, while just-as-drunk onlookers pelted them with beer cans, not all of which were empty.
The ensuing bad publicity led to a ban on spectators bringing their own drinks to the infield. That, in turn, may have led to a 31-percent plummet in ticket sales, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Now, Preakness organizers are hoping to regain the attention they've lost with a Get Your Preak On ad campaign, with radio and TV commercials, and pretty girls in skimpy tank tops hitting Baltimore bars and clubs to promote the rock music, Jägermeister cornhole tournament, and bottomless $20 beer mugs.
You read that right. All the beer you can drink, all day, for $20.
Did we mention there's a horserace this weekend, too?
To be sure, the racing industry has been on shaky legs for years in Maryland, and there's been talk of bringing in new ownership, slot machines and table gaming to try to revive it.
Is free-flowing booze the kind of attention the industry needs, when the eyes of the country will be on the sport -- and our area's contribution to it -- this weekend?
No cover needed to take part in the bottomless opining with WTOP Talkback!
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