Before we begin, a quick recap of the plight that recently befell the Preakness Stakes: Long known for its debauched crowds, the horse race found itself in hot water when, in 2007, drunkards were filmed scurrying atop portable toilets and comporting themselves in a manner unbecoming to such a beloved event. So the race’s organizers stopped letting people bring in their own beer, nobody came, and an ad agency was enlisted to make Preakness cool again. Ergo, the booze is back, baby. And helping spread the word is the new mascot of the race: Kegasus, a booze-bloated half-horse, half-human spawn of “Preaknesius, the God of Thoroughbred Racing, and Shelly McDougal, a waitress from Ellicott City.” It gets better!
The noble beast’s mission: promote $20 bottomless beer mugs and lure revelers back into the fold. (In reality, he was spawned by Washington advertising agency Elevation Ltd., a company that we can only assume seriously condones drinking on the job.)
The hirsute mascot calls himself Lord of the Infieldfest. Not shockingly, his very existence has incited horror and disgust among Maryland officials, who deride the ad campaign as “infantile” and “stupid.” Killjoys! But Tom Chuckas, president of the Maryland Jockey Club, isn’t having it: “I’ve taken the phone calls and have heard how horrified people are, but I’ve got a business to run and I have got to attract young people to our event, and we knew the elegance and grandeur of the sport was not the way to get them here,” he said. To which we say: If Kegasus ain’t elegant and grand, nothing is.
Even the campaign’s slogan is awesome: “A 10-hour party to celebrate a two-minute race. Now we’re talking.” There’s a joke in there somewhere about parties and two minutes and too much drunkenness, but unlike the Maryland Jockey Club, we actually have some modicum of good taste.