All eyes in the sporting world were on Baltimore this weekend for the 143rd running of the Preakness Stakes held at Pimlico Race Course, the second leg of the Triple Crown following the Kentucky Derby. Visit Baltimore hosted a group of 10 meeting planners and their guests for a weekend of festivities.
Chic hats, suits and dresses, and eye-catching fascinators were donned by the group, who spent race day in a VIP suite at Pimlico. Guests also enjoyed fresh Maryland crabs, a specialty of Baltimore, at a traditional crab feast held at Nick's Fish House.
Justify, the racehorse who won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, kept hope alive for a Triple Crown winner this year. Should he be just as successful at New York's Belmont Park on June 9, Justify would become the 13th Triple Crown winner.
The Preakness is commonly referred to as "The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans" because a blanket of the yellow flowering plant, the state flower of Maryland, is draped over the winning horse. The group hosted by Visit Baltimore also enjoyed their own variation of Black-Eyed Susans: the official cocktail of the Preakness. New this year were luxury glass climate-controlled structures that made up the Preakness Village, located on the infield near the Winner's Circle.
A race like the Preakness is an ideal way for groups to network while having fun. A professional handicapper was on hand giving tips and the members of the group helped one other with their selections, which they entered into an onsite betting machine.
"The Preakness is like Baltimore's annual Super Bowl, providing an amazing historical tradition by which Visit Baltimore can introduce customers to Baltimore as a great meetings and event destination," says Al Hutchinson, president and CEO of Visit Baltimore.
All in all, the city of Baltimore impressed. As new acquaintances were made, everyone came away a winner.