Freakness at the Preakness, Part II: Fight club

Speaking of terrible infield behavior, each day between now and Saturday’s race we’ll be highlighting a different depraved Preakness tradition. Today: Fighting.

Fighting might be an anomaly at the Iroquois Steeplechase, but at the Preakness it’s a grand tradition.

Alcohol and fighting go hand in hand, and drinking is a cornerstone of the event.

Preakness officials now seem resigned to embracing the chaos following a failed campaign to make the infield party a more family friendly event. After booze-fueled violence reached a fever pitch in 2008 (300 people ended up in the hospital, 126 people were ejected from Pimlico and there were six arrests), the track decided to ban race-goers from bringing alcohol to the event.

Attendance dropped off dramatically, after which the policy was reversed. What’s more, they decided to capitalize on the Preakness’ former reputation as a drunken free-for-all, adopting “Get Your Preak On” as its slogan and a half-man, half-horse named “Kegasus” as the race’s mascot.

From mud wrestling…

To public brawls…

To random acts of chokehold…

…We can’t wait to see what kind of classiness the 2013 event brings.

Keep it real, Horse Nation.

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