That’s right Baltimore, Old Hilltop is open again. With the Orioles stinking it up halfway through a long west coast road trip and the weather being the very picture of Spring, there’s no better time to for an outing to Pimlico to see the horses run.
The 2010 Spring meet opened yesterday, which means the roaring crowds of about 800 have already lost their purses and we’ve got the track to ourselves today.
Of course, on any day but Preakness day you can pretty much have the place to yourself. Pimlico has become so piss-poor that in our opinion it’s Baltimore’s best place to fake-it rich. In fact, that might be it’s best attribute; anyone in a jacket or tie can feel like a high roller. Valet parking is like $3, the drinks are cheap, admission is around $2, and you’re free to roam the clubhouse, loges, paddock, and winners circle at your leisure. (It’s true general admission, unlike Oriole Park which is just de facto general admission.) And hey, compared to the rusty old pensioners that populate the grandstand, you are rich. There are few things more satisfying in sports than tearing up betting slips into tiny little pieces and casting them out while cursing a horse’s mother and threatening him with the glue factory. Not as satisfying as winning, but you take what you can get.
If you’ve never been to a live race, we can’t recommend it enough. It’s a wonderfully relaxing way to spend an afternoon, and a field of horses charging down the stretch is one of the most beautiful sights to be seen anywhere. We say see it while you can, because Pimlico’s days are numbered. Slots or no slots, that place is in it’s twilight. Live racing for this meet has already been reduced to Sunday through Thursday, and there are only 5 weeks of racing this time around, to say nothing of the dwindling crowds at Preakness.
It’s no shame if Pimlico closes, but it would be a shame if it closed and you never saw it.
Incidentally, if you’re looking for something to do on Kentucky Derby day (May 1) Pimlico is an ideal place to spend the day. Watch live racing all day (including stakes racing) get the derby program printed in the back of the Pimlico program, bet the race live on the mutuel tellers and watch the derby on the big screen.
Sure beats the local crumb-bum sports bar.
Live racing at Pimlico runs Sunday through Thursday until May 22. Most days’ first post is 1:10 pm. More information at www.pimlico.com