Just before the start to the 140th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico in Baltimore, Maryland the skies opened up with a deluge of large raindrops quickly turning a fast track surface into wet muck. The sudden storm and a few bolts of lightning caught everyone’s attention as the crowd starred out from their the grandstand seats through the windows which provided much shelter from the windswept rain. All of a sudden I heard the word “Day O” spoken loudly from behind followed shortly after by another loudly sung “Day O.” The crowd responded to the second nudging by repeating the word Day O. I immediately, being of that age, recognized the song previously sung and recorded by Harry Belafonte titled “The banana boat song.” I rose as quickly as I could, turned the switch on my camera to video and recorded the following.
Last Christmas my daughter Sherri Lynne gave to me two tickets to this years’ running of the Preakness and Black Eyed Susan Stakes. The Friday tickets were for the running of the Black Eyed Susan and on Saturday’s for the 140th running of the Preakness Stakes won by American Pharoah. That win made him eligible for a triple crown victory as he heads to the Belmont Stakes on June 6th. The following images were taken on Friday and Saturday as I thought I would try to capture the excitement of the crowd as the featured race drew near. After taking a few images I became aware that this event was turning into one hugh party and a very nice one at that. First and foremost there was the racing the initial attraction but then I saw people selling lemonade for various charities, locale organizations setting up “bar” and serving various mixed drinks raising money for their cause. Then came “Preakness Day.” I found myself drinking Mimosa’s before 9:30am and being fully aware of their effect. The whole atmosphere was that of excitement and fun. I realized that for some this was all about horse racing, for others it was about raising dollars to support their organization, for the track it was about earning enough money in two days to keep it viable for the next year and finally, came the most important realization, ” it was all about hats”. Small, large ones, feathery, vibrant colored, sophisticated and showy “hats”. I went about trying to capture various species of these ornaments for the “tete” while still keeping my focus on my passion for horse racing. Here are some of those results. Hope you enjoy the images as much as I had fun taking them.