05/21/2013 1:25PM

Dick Jerardi: Pimlico proves that Preakness has something for everybody

Barbara D. Livingston
Hello Lover, the top horse on the grounds at Parx Racing in 2012, launched his 2013 campaign by winning the Deputed Testimony Starter Handicap last Saturday at Pimlico.

By the end of Preakness weekend, it was unclear if the hotter exacta was Wayne Lukas and Gary Stevens or Pitbull and Jennifer Lopez. Call it a dead heat.

Don’t know if Wayne and Gary can do it again in 2014, but if Pitbull, aka Armando Perez, brings J-Lo with him to the Preakness infield next year, they will be a big favorite.

Pitbull was every bit as big in the 2013 infield as Oxbow was on the track. And that really is the Preakness, something for just about everybody.

There were 117,203 on the property. The infield, despite new security measures (no coolers was the biggest change in the wake of the Boston Marathon terror attack), was jammed. Looking down from the press box, it looked like one of the bigger crowds in memory.

Some of the kids made their way to the betting windows and probably even saw a few horses during the 13-race card. Somebody obviously was betting. Nearly $82 million was wagered on the card.

“It was a fantastic day to cap what was a wonderful weekend of racing and entertainment,” Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas said. “I challenged my team to match last year’s record-setting afternoon and they answered the call. The initial feedback on the concerts is positive and the racing office put together a quality card from bottom to top.”

The racing was excellent, the scene unlike any in racing.

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“If you take a look at the facility, there’s probably seven different sections within the facility,’’ Chuckas said during the races. “They each have their own demographic, their own special place. You’d be surprised how much wagering comes out of the infield, even with what we’re doing. I think two or three years ago, we did about a half-million dollars. Last year, we did over 2 1/2 million dollars.’’

Chuckas pointed to how the industry in the last 20 years “has done a pretty bad job of promoting horse racing.”

“There’s not really a younger demographic so what do we do, we use the music and the other entertainment to bring them into the facility and hopefully get them entertained,’’ he said.

And get exposed to horse racing.

The security was tightened this year, but, in typical Pimlico fashion, it was not overbearing.

“There’s probably about 50 percent more law enforcement people involved in some capacity, some seen, some not seen,’’ Chuckas said.

It is, sadly, the world we live in.

The Preakness at Pimlico on the third Saturday in May is happily also a world we live in. The stakes barn is a gathering place during the week and after the race. It is always comfortable and comforting and somehow timeless, especially when Wayne Lukas and Gary Stevens win the Preakness.

Hello Lover just keeps winning

Hello Lover, the 2012 Parx Racing horse of the year, started off 2013 like he spent much of last year – in the winner’s circle. Trainer Butch Reid brought the nearly white horse down I-95 to Pimlico to run in the second race on Preakness Day, a starter handicap named in honor of 1983 Preakness winner Deputed Testamony. Hello Lover looked like a lock and ran like it, winning by a comfortable two lengths. Since being claimed for $7,500 on Jan. 3, 2012, Hello Lover has won nine times and earned $314,695.

Ben’s Cat aims at Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup

Speaking of winning, is there a horse anywhere who does it better than Ben’s Cat? After winning the Jim McKay Turf Sprint on Black-Eyed Susan Day, Ben is being pointed for the June 1 Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup at Penn National on the $1 million card that will feature the first running of the $500,000 Penn Mile.

Runco dominating again at Charles Town

Some other things never change, like Jeff Runco in front of the trainer standings at Charles Town. Closing on 3,300 career wins and with $35 million in purses, Runco has been winning big for a long time. In 2013, he is 54 for 240 at Charles Town, a clear first in the standings again.

Watch out for Pino’s 2-year-olds

Trainer Michael Pino, who grew up a few furlongs from Delaware Park, was 10 for 35 with 5 seconds and 5 thirds last year at the Wilmington-area racetrack. He was really good with 2-year-olds, going 8 for 18 with a stakes win.


Industrial Highway More than 1 year ago
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Bring on the mud-rasslers and strippers.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
I think it sad that racing thinks that the way to bring in new people is to have a drunken ruckus in the infield....and yeah they bet 2 million bucks and probably cant remember who they bet on and if they can read at all probably have never seen a past performance or form guide...seriously who needs these people anyway who come out once a year and would bet the same amount on a pig race ... if you want a healthy industry make it more honest. Stop trainers from using drugs and steroids and police the jockeys and betting rings...allow people to believe they are getting a fair shake when they place a bet and are not just suckers.
michael stapler More than 1 year ago
With all the slot money going towards purses...... Let's take a $30,000 purase and subtract $400 to give to each starter who finishes 4th or worth as a "starting bouns". So what if the purse is decreased by $3600-$4400 dollars. It will assure larger fields and much bigger pools. Before all the whinging starts.. yeah-a few sore horses might sneak by, but i see no reason why those going to the starting gate as "sore" shouldn't have to pay a small :fine; to keep things honest. I really don't care if SLOW horses go in races way over their head. Larger fields mean bigger pools, mean more people wagering, meaning bigger profits, meaning better for racing. Tah-Dah !!!
B More than 1 year ago
You're an idiotic.
Harvey Savitsky More than 1 year ago
Nick Arden More than 1 year ago
The takeouts at Pimlico are ridiculous. I'll bet the Preakness and Black Eyed Susan cards but other wise I stay away.
Kevin Mudgett More than 1 year ago
it wasn't about the betting take out it was about the event as a whole
John Burton More than 1 year ago
Congratulations to PIMLICO and the Maryland Jockey Club for fantastic cards, great entertainment, and lots of fun at Pimlico on Black-eye Susy and Preakness Day! It was a great time for all! Kepp-up and continue this great event! It does maryland horse racing proud!
Mike More than 1 year ago
Sad to see a sharp guy like Geradi thinking that Pitbull is good for the game - The Mig commented that they had the volume on full-blast even as the horses were loading in the gate!
willus3 More than 1 year ago
Dick Jerardi is even sharper then Geradi
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its great that some trainers know how to get horses fit and ready to win I am sick of betting on trainers with dismal records .
michael stapler More than 1 year ago
THAT was a dumb comment. Read it again.
Harvey Savitsky More than 1 year ago
HAY! Anon! Can you use commas or periods in your full time blogging job?