New Preakness date uncertain but infield party canceled

Sports

FILE – In this May 18, 2019, file photo, horses in the day’s eleventh horse race pass part of a closed grandstand at Pimlico Race Course ahead of the Preakness Stakes horse race in Baltimore. A measure in Maryland to redevelop Pimlico Race Course to keep the second leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown in Baltimore is scheduled for a hearing before state lawmakers.
The “Racing and Community Development Act of 2020” is set for a hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

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BALTIMORE (AP) — The Preakness is looking for a new date this year and has decided to cancel the infield party that is a staple of the Triple Crown race normally held on the third Saturday in May.

The owners of Pimlico Race Course and the Maryland Jockey Club said in a statement Friday that the outbreak of the coronavirus around the country has caused officials to delay the race and cancel InfieldFest 2020.

“Our first priority in these difficult times is the health and well-being of our customers, our vendors, our employees and the horses we all love,” the statement read. “A decision will be made on a new date for Preakness 145 and will take into consideration all of the recommended best practices from local and governmental health authorities to protect our community.”

The Preakness usually draws more than 100,000 fans to aging Pimlico. Most of the attendance gathers on the infield, where patrons can enjoy beer, food and free concerts by a variety of performers.

The move to cancel InfieldFest was “a difficult decision but we are confident that it was the right one,” officials said.

The Preakness was scheduled to be held on May 16. The Kentucky Derby has already been moved from May 2 to Sept. 5, and it’s possible the Preakness could follow suit and be held in mid-September.

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