The 138th running of the Preakness Stakes on May 18 will feature two fewer hooves than the previous two years. The Maryland Jockey Club is retiring “Kegasus," the beer-drinking centaur (half-man, half-horse) mascot that was introduced prior to the 2011 race, according to a report by the Baltimore Business Journal.
While Kegasus drew national attention and helped to increase ticket sales for the past two races, Tom Chukas, president of the Maryland Jockey Club, told the Journal, “I think we’re at a different stage with the InfieldFest - I think the brand is much stronger.”
The mascot was created by a marketing firm in Washington, DC, to attract a younger audience to the historic horse race, but the addition of musical acts popular with a younger demmgraphic may help continue to draw a youthful crowd, organizers say. This year, Pitbull will perform, as will Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.
The mascot drew the ire of many, including Maryland Delegate Pat McConough (R, District 7, Baltimore & Harford Counties) who criticized it for promoting underage drinking.
The Journal article did not mention the fate of Kegasus’s side kick, UniCarl, the half-man, half unicorn.