The Preakness, held Saturday at Maryland’s Pimlico Race Course, fucking ruled! The race itself was fine: the favorite won; the favorite was also the horse that won the Kentucky Derby; therefore the actual Preakness Stakes did the job of getting the broader non-gambling world through May with reason intact to pay attention to horse racing in June. But the event was cloaked in fog, and soaked in mud, and therefore a genuinely delightful thing to watch on television and follow in the media:
First, the mud: this last week has been ridiculously wet and stormy in the D.C.-Baltimore region. A derecho roared through on Monday and battered a huge swath of the mid-Atlantic with hurricane-force winds and driving rain. A powerful and slow-moving beast of a thunderstorm followed the derecho and dumped a month’s worth of rain on the region over the course of a few hours Tuesday night. And every one of the hours from Tuesday night through Saturday night saw cloud cover and drizzle and fog and rain looming to the horizon in every direction.
This ceaseless dreariness turned Pimlico, which is in northwest Baltimore, into a soupy bog by Saturday. Look at this shit!
The Preakness famously has a relaxed festival vibe—the broadcast Saturday afternoon compared it to Woodstock—so where the mud and gloom might’ve caused distress among the strutting peacocks of the Kentucky Derby, the cheerful drunks of Pimlico seem to have made the most of it:
No horsey was spared!
The fog was perhaps a more memorable part of the proceedings, since it was downright hard to make sense of the actual race, enveloped as it was in pea soup:
If Justify goes on to win the Belmont Stakes next month, probably no one will much remember the conditions of the 2018 Preakness—only that it was a challenge bested by a historic Triple Crown winner. But the rain and the mud and the fog made for a messy and fun and mildly chaotic spectacle, and it should be illegal from now on to hold the Preakness under any other conditions but these. Give me the mud horses and the foggy finish, every time.