The Latest: Pimlico safe, despite crumbling grandstand

The Latest on the Preakness (all times local):

2:55 p.m.

The debate about keeping the Preakness at aging Pimlico Race Course or moving it to fresher Laurel Park is ongoing.

The current emphasis is providing the fans at Old Hilltop a good time on Preakness Day.

Tim Ritvo, the Chief Operating Officer of the Stronach Group, which owns the track, says it will keep working with the city and the state on options because people deserve “a great race like this. So nothing is final until it’s final.”

The Stronach Group says the Preakness will stay at Pimlico at least through next year. A plane flying above the race course carried a sign that implored Stronach to keep the Preakness in Baltimore.

With a large section of the grandstand shut down and water pipes bursting seemingly on a daily basis, the 149-year-old track is struggling to provide the best experience for fans.

Water pressure was an issue, but Ritvo offered assurance that fans could rest easy in the crumbling facility, saying “we’re positive it’s safe.”

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12:10 p.m.

The music is blaring, the beer is flowing and the crowd in the infield at Pimlico Race Course for the Preakness is … smaller than usual.

Maybe it’s the $89 price tag for tickets, and in some cases, an additional $30 charge. It could be for the first time since 1996 there is no Kentucky Derby winner in the Preakness and thus no chance for a Triple Crown.

It’s certainly not the weather. Those who have assembled more than six hours before the big race are enjoying 72 degree temperatures under a cloudy sky.

It has been a decade since fans could bring their own beer into the infield. Now it costs 20 bucks for a decent-sized mug with unlimited refills.

For the first time in years, it’s an easy walk around the infield. Despite the many tents in place, there’s still plenty of room to set up blankets.

There are countless concession stands — and nearly as many vendors as patrons. As far as seeing an actual horse, the best shot for fans to an opening near the fence at the far turn.

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11:15 a.m.

Bob Baffert-trained Improbable remains the favorite for the Preakness.

Improbable is 3-1 to win the second jewel of the Triple Crown after being installed as the 5-2 morning line favorite. He was also the favorite in the Kentucky Derby, finished fifth and was placed fourth after Maximum Security was disqualified.

War of Will, who was initially the second choice in wagering at 4-1, was 6-1 as of late Saturday morning. Bourbon War, who didn’t run in the Derby, has been bet down from 12-1 to 9-2.

Last-minute addition Everfast, who opened 50-1, is no longer the longest shot on the board; he is now 22-1. The longest shot now is 26-1 Market King, who is trained by six-time Preakness winner D. Wayne Lukas.

Odds will continue to fluctuate until post time at 6:48 p.m.

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