The popularity of horse racing is almost universally accepted to be at an all-time low. The mascot for the upcoming Preakness Stakes only lends support to that notion. The second leg of the Triple Crown recently unveiled “Kegasus,” an epic and legendary centaur used to promote Infieldfest at this weekend’s race. Yikes. I mean, at least preserve the integrity and grandeur of the event for those who still do care. Don’t try to lure casual fans in with that. Who’s in charge of marketing there?
The mascot was born in an effort to try and lure in a younger audience to the race, which has seen attendance dip below 100,000. “We knew the elegance and grandeur of the Preakness would not necessarily attract them,” Tom Chuckas, president and race organizer of the Maryland Jockey Club recently told the Washington Post. Well, they certainly succeeded in finding the complete opposite end of the spectrum.
I’m a bit torn on this one. On one hand, I’m one of few people in my age group that enjoy horse racing for that “elegance and grandeur.” On the other hand, I’ve been known to tip a few back and enjoy events for shallow reasons like a ridiculous, conversation-starting mascot. In any event, it will be interesting to see if Kegasus helps draw in a few more folks this weekend as Animal Kingdom tries to win the second leg of the Triple Crown.
Kegasus joined 105.7 The Fan in Baltimore with The Mark Viviano Show to discuss his media relations efforts this week, his reaction to folks who haven’t been so excited about Kegasus’ creation, a possible bounty by fans who want to steal him from the Preakness, and his pick for this weekend’s race.
How did his press conference go?:
“Actually Kegasus knows no confrontation. It’s all epicness in life. The questions that were asked were: Just how legendary is Infieldfest going to be? What events are going to be taking place? … I did have a question that was asked as to whether or not I would be modifying any of my jewelry, specifically that of which is attached to my chest area. And I had to [tell] them that is the teething ring from when I was a teeny, tiny horse. … At age 4, it is attached to their chest to remind them of their upbringing.”
Was he insulted that some folks in the Baltimore area weren’t happy when he was announced as the mascot?:
“Actually, none of that was difficult to handle. I don’t expect the impact of a legendary creature, such as myself, to be taken lightly by anyone, especially as hard as I’ve worked to become the lord and perfecter, not just the mascot, of the Infieldfest. Any negative comments that were made, I think have since been smoothed over. I did, however, take exception to the ample beergut comment. I have since entertained quite a training regimen. … I did have a delegate from the state legislature make a comment and she has since, I believe, accepted my challenge to a game of cornhole, best two out of three, on the infield.”
On the local controversy surrounding the fact that he’s a big fan of the Colts:
“Well, ever since I was a colt, I have been a big fan and since they are, originally, a Baltimore product, I couldn’t be more proud of the success that they’ve had. But I’m a Raven fool when it comes to the game of football, my friend.”
Is he worried about a possible bounty on him by fans who want to take him home after the race?:
“It is interesting that these gentlemen have announced their plans for horse thievery. I doubt that, considering the fact that I’m able to cross inter-dimensionally through what is now, I believe, seven dimensions and counting, that they’ll be able to get to me. But if they would care to wager … bottomless mugs for the entire day or perhaps five out of seven game of cornhole, we might be able to negotiate a visit or a legendary party or a visit in the city of Frederick.”
His prediction for the race:
“I plan on seeing you there and afterwards we shall lift a glass to Animal Kingdom, who I predict will be the winner by three lengths.”