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Shifting focus at Preakness from drinking to racing

Thursday - 5/17/2012, 7:41pm  ET

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The Preakness Stakes will take place Saturday, May 19, 2012 at Pimlico Track in Baltimore. (Courtesy Preakness.com)

John Aaron, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - It's long been known as the booziest leg of horse racing's Triple Crown series.

But at the Preakness Stakes, organizers have been trying to shift the focus back to racing. The biggest step was banning fans from bringing alcohol into the infield in 2009 after years of mayhem.

The Maryland Jockey Club believed, correctly, that the chaos, which included deadly projectiles flying through the air and "The Running of the Urinals" perhaps reflected poorly on the sport.

But those who make the trip primarily to drink haven't been forgotten. Tickets are again available which include the cost of all beer: Infield Mug Club tickets cost $80, compared to $60 for regular infield admission tickets.

Whether you can bring in food or other drinks depends on a multitude of factors. According to the Preakness' website, "Beverages of any kind (including alcohol, beer, wine, soft drinks, water or other beverages) will NOT be permitted to be brought into the Infield" on race day.

But backpacks and coolers, under certain sizes, carrying food will be allowed in the Infield, but not in other areas.

In the Grandstand and Clubhouse, "Non-Alcoholic beverages… and food items in clear, plastic bags or clear, see-thorough plastic containers" are allowed.

The complete maze of rules is available on the race's websiteM.

Tickets and parking are available through Ticketmaster and the Preakness ticket office.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)