Preakness to drop its party manimal?

Kegasus has promoted the Preakness in print ads, TV ads and personal appearances.
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Pimlico's stewed and slovenly marketing icon Kegasus will not return for the 2013 Preakness Stakes, according to reports.

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The Baltimore Sun was among several Maryland outlets to report that the half-man, half-party animal that starred in ads the past two years promoting the racetrack's infield party scene is unlikely to return this year.

"The brand is very strong. It's become a first-class event," Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas told reporters Monday. "The Jockey Club's need to rely on Kegasus is less than ever."

With an irreverent attitude, long hair and a nipple ring, Kegasus was a ploy to attract younger crowds to the racetrack. And it worked — Preakness Day attendance reached 121,000 last year after dipping as low as 78,000 in 2009.

Kegasus, who drew the wrath of the horse racing industry's establishment, was a symbol of unapologetic alcohol and excess, as Pimlico offered a $20 bottomless mug of beer for Preakness Day. That promotion will continue even as Kegasus goes out to pasture, the Sun reported.

While those in the grandstand are there to watch the second leg of horse racing's Triple Crown — I'll Have Another won the Preakness in 2012 — the infield remains a party scene. A daylong concert lineup for the race day May 18 will include Pitbull, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.

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