Preakness Stakes bans backpacks from infield, non-clear coolers

Photo: Associated Press

The Maryland Jockey Club has made major changes to what attendees of the annual Preakness Stakes can and can't bring to the annual horse race and infield party.

Spectators and partygoers alike for the Preakness, the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes and InfieldFest, which takes place the weekend of May 17 and 18, will no longer be allowed to bring duffel bags, non-clear coolers and backpacks into Pimlico Race Course.

Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas explicitly mentioned the April 15 attacks on the Boston Marathon as one reason for the new security measures. Pimlico officials also say that everyone who enters the grounds for Preakness weekend will be subject to an electronic wand inspection and a search of their belongings.

"Each year, we spend considerable time working with federal, state and local law enforcement and public safety agencies to ensure the safety of all our fans, which remains our number one priority," Chuckas said in a statement. "Collectively, we feel these changes will address concerns fans may have following the Boston tragedies."

The new measures do not allow patrons to bring any duffel bags or non-transparent coolers into either the building or the infield. Those restrictions expand to include not allowing backpacks into the infield area. The only coolers that will be allowed must be clear and can be no bigger than 28 inches long by 15 inches wide and 17 inches high.

Cameras with detachable lenses or lenses more than six inches in length are no longer permitted as well.

"We urge fans to have an enjoyable time but if anything looks unusual or suspicious, do not hesitate to notify the proper authorities," added Chuckas.