04/30/2013 11:32AM

Pimlico introduces tighter security for Preakness Day


Pimlico Race Course will ban duffel bags, backpacks, and all but a specific size of clear-plastic coolers for this year’s Preakness Stakes on May 18 under a new set of policies similar to those adopted by Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby this year.

The bans on the items were recommended by law-enforcement officials following a review of the track’s policies in the wake of the bombings at the Boston Marathon in April, Pimlico officials said. Law-enforcement officials have recommended stricter carry-in policies for all large events since the bombings.

Also under the new policy, infield attendees will be barred from bringing in beverages of any kind, Pimlico officials said. For the past several years, infield attendees have been barred from bringing in beer and alcohol, but not other drinks, as long as they were in clear plastic bottles or regular cans. Infield attendees also will be barred from bringing in backpacks for the first time. A backpack ban has been in place for the grandstand for the past several years.

Also on the banned list for this year: cameras with lenses longer than six inches, cameras with detachable lenses, and laser lights or pointers.

Last year, attendance at the Preakness was reported to be 121,309, a record. The event typically draws at least 100,000 to the track, the vast majority to its infield.