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Preakness rolls out its party animal

March 30, 2011 at 4:51 PM

BALTIMORE, March 30 (UPI) -- The mascot for this year's Preakness, a drunken centaur, is meant to draw fans to the race, but some say they are horrified.

Kegasus, a "party manimal" sporting a nipple ring, body hair and beer gut, was announced by the host Maryland Jockey Club Tuesday. He will be promising a rowdy party at the May 21 Triple Crown race via television, radio, social media and appearances targeting the under-40 crowd.

"Kegasus speaks directly to our infield fest demographic with his no-nonsense personality and total embodiment of a good time," Jockey Club President Tom Chuckas said.

Brian Eden, a marketing executive not involved in the campaign, told The Baltimore Sun: "Their mission is pretty clear here. They're not talking to the ladies with the big flowered hats in the grandstand."

The promotion drew immediate fire for promoting binge drinking.

"If the goal is to let them know they will be able to drink to excess, it does communicate that," said Jason Loviglio, a University of Maryland media professor. Fans will be invited "to pursue sunstroke and alcohol poisoning."

Chuckas said the jockey club has "never hidden the fact that we want people to come to the infield and party."

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