So I went to the Black-Eyed Susan and Preakness Horse Races this year. The Black-Eyed Susan is held on the Friday prior to the Preakness. Both races are held at Pimlico Race Track in northwest Baltimore.
A couple of observations:
The area around the race track is impoverished and I’m surprised that with the amount of money the city must take in on this weekend every year that none of it goes to improve the surrounding area. At least it appears that way to me. This year I did see signs about some kind of neighborhood “renewal” that will be taking place, so maybe there will be some improvements. I think each race leading up to the Preakness (~12 races) had around $2,000,000 in total betting per race. I imagine the track is privately held in which case I would like to see that organization co-invest with the city to support that local area.
The second is what I would call an air of lawlessness. I thought maybe it was the aftermath of the Freddie Gray incident and subsequent protests, but in talking with a local, they said “that’s Baltimore, that’s kind of the “charm” of the city.” Baltimore is known as or attempts to be known as The Charm City.
By “lawlessness”, I have these two examples. On Friday, May 15, when driving from the track, I saw a teenager pushing a motorcycle down the street. A police car came up behind him, I’m thinking to block traffic so the young man can get the motorcycle started or push it off the street. The young man then jump started the motorcycle and quickly turned left, the police car got in the left turn lane and as we drove by we saw the man, look back over his shoulder at the police car and then popped a wheelie and revved up the motorcycle and took off. The police car hit his lights and took off after him. It was like the kid was saying, “come on, chase me!” A few blocks away from that, we and about 16 cars were stopped at a traffic light. The street was 2 lanes going both ways. Four young men on motorcycles weaved down among the stopped cars and looked for oncoming traffic, saw a break and they all crossed the red light. We were incredulous.