In spite of rainy weather and fog, a reported 134,487 people showed up at Pimlico for the Preakness Stakes, the third largest crowd in the history of the race.  The dilapidated condition of the Pimlico racetrack and the leaky roof during heavy rain makes this turnout a testimonial to the powerful draw of the Preakness.

Betting on the Preakness card was $93.66 million–which was the third best ever—and came notwithstanding the small field sizes, including the eight-entry Preakness with a strong favorite in the mix.  The Preakness itself set a betting record with a handle of $61.97 million, up $600,000 over the previous record set in 2016 and up 2.9% over 2017.

The Preakness is always intriguing if the Kentucky Derby winner is in the field.  People tune in to see if the second jewel of the Triple Crown advances the prospect for a sweep of the three races.  The race had a television rating of 5.5 and a share of 12.  (A show’s rating is the percentage of all possible TV households or viewers in the country and its share is the percentage of households or viewers actually watching TV at the time.)  Thus an estimated 5.5 percent of all television sets in the United States were tuned in to the Preakness.  The race’s share of TV sets that were actually turned on to any program was 12 percent, or one in eight.

With a buoyant U. S. economy and the lowest unemployment rate since 2000, the record-breaking betting trend seen in the Kentucky Derby continued in the Preakness.  With the possibility of a Triple Crown winner in Justify, betting on the Belmont Stakes should set another record, barring an injury that preludes the colt from running or a black-swan national catastrophe.

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