In the corporate tents, there was at least as much civic, business and political schmoozing as race-watching. Donald Fry, president and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee business group, was squiring a group of people he wanted to attract to the area's growing cyber community. Having brought them to the Orioles game Friday night, Saturday was devoted to the Preakness.
"It's a great way to see people, see them in a different setting and enjoy one of Maryland's greatest traditions, the Preakness," Fry said. "There's no better way to highlight Maryland."
Gov. Martin O'Malley dropped by the corporate village but left before the race and the trophy-presenting ceremony that he traditionally handles. Instead, Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, a gubernatorial candidate, did the honors.
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"It's my daughter's graduation from Georgetown — cum laude," O'Malley said of his eldest, Grace. "That doesn't happen every day."
The infield, notoriously rowdy when ticket-holders were allowed to bring in their own booze, continued on its tamer path this year.
Ryan Becker and Adam Meliker, both from Baltimore, reminisced about Preakness' wilder days as they pressed up against a chain link fence waiting for an early race to start. "I went in 2007 when it was a nut house," Becker said.
A chalk graffiti wall in the infield ended up mostly dominated by fraternities' Greek letters, but Natalie Abacherli, 25, added her own little sorority, RoCaJoNa — a mashup of her college friends' names.
That done, her plan for the rest of the day was simple.
"Drink!" she said, raising her glass of Bud Light in salute.
Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts was in the infield keeping an eye on the crowds swelling around Pitbull's performance. He wanted to make sure people could be evacuated safely if there was a surge toward the stage, he said.
The department has been especially wary since the Boston marathon bombings, he said, and scheduled more officers to work at the race than usual. "We're paying attention to bags," Batts added.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said after the race that three men were arrested for disorderly conduct, and 23 minor medical calls were reported.
The revelry extended into the parking lots and surrounding neigborhoods. Rocky Fox, 33, attending his fifth Preakness, packed into a rented van with about a dozen friends.
The group would have preferred to bring their own alcohol, but said that wouldn't stop them from drinking at the track. Fox said he expected extra security and could deal with that as well.
"I am just happy to be here and have a good time," Fox said.
Outside the track, many neighborhood residents became entrepreneurs for the day. They turned lawns into makeshift parking lots, waving signs on Northern Parkway and other major roads to draw in drivers. Kids hawked bottled water for a little spending money, and women tempted passersby with hot dogs and baked goods.
"It's a victimless hustle," said Shaquan Hopkins, who makes $300 to $400 selling parking spots on his aunt's lawn on Manhattan Avene. He waved a cardboard sign advertising the $20 spots and yelled "Need parking?" to cars, bicylists and anyone else coming by.
Robin Dickson brought her 13-year-old son to sell bottled water from the roadside because he wanted to make some money for a school trip to Chicago. But he disappeared around 12:30 p.m.and left an irritated mom to man the sales.
"He better come back," she said.
Baltimore Sun reporter Justin George contributed to this article.