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Preakness: Just Another Work Day for Some

It wasn't all play at the popular Maryland sporting event.

Betting on the horses, guzzling down beer and forgetting where you parked are all part of the fun at Preakness.

But for some people, Preakness is just another workday.

Yalonda Smith, 19, works for the Maryland Transit Administration. She had been at the Cold Spring Lane Light Rail stop since about 6 a.m., helping race fans cross to the north side of Cold Spring Lane. From there, buses transported the travelers to their destination at Old Hilltop. 

By 11 a.m., Smith had estimated that she’d already helped about 300 people across the road.

“It’s been thick,” she said.

But Smith's day was just beginning. She said she anticipates being at her post until as late as 9 p.m. 

Jimmy Ernest, a bartender at the Mt. Washington Tavern, said the restaurant has been busy all week leading up to Preakness.

“It’s booming,” said Ernest, who sports a gray goatee and wears a white shirt with a fish skeleton emblazoned on the back.

In between fetching rounds of beer and Bloody Marys, Ernest ran down a list of events and groups that have been at the tavern.

The Maryland Jockey Club, Fox 45 and several other organizations held events at the restaurant this week.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Ernest said.

Doug Wyatt, 50, sold Italian sausages, hot dogs and sodas at a stand located on the triangle median formed at the intersection of West Rogers Avenue, Pimlico Road and Northern Parkway.

Wyatt, an Essex resident, said he’d been working at the stand during Preakness for the past five years.

“Since they stopped alcohol from going in it’s been slower. But we still do a pretty good business,” Wyatt said.

Although Wyatt has never been to Pimlico to actually see the running of the Preakness Stakes, he’s still happy to be working the event.

“It’s great. I love it,” Wyatt said.  

Nearby, in the 2400 block of West Rogers Avenue, Peter Berns sat in a chair outside his home as two of his children held signs to flag down drivers looking to park.

Berns said his four children started the parking operation seven years ago as a way to generate spending money.  

“We had no interest in starting,” Berns said.

But his kids, two of whom have now gone off to college, turned it into a successful endeavor. He said that one year there were as many as 100 cars parked in his and neighboring yards. But Berns wasn’t expecting there to be that many this year.

“Parking traffic has really died down in the last couple of years,” Berns said.

However, the dip in revenue isn’t a concern for Berns.

“It’s still just fun to hang out and enjoy the day,” he said.

Anna Renault May 22, 2011 at 12:59 AM
Yep, just another working day! As I also write for Examiner.com regarding cancer related stories, it has been heart-warming to learn the story of Noah Grove and his non-profit foundation: Noah's Courage Foundation along with his connection to the horse racing world! Read: www.examiner.com/cancer-in-baltimore/anna-renault... A Preakness cancer connection!

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