The traffic on Northern Parkway, the major acccess to Pimlico Race Course from the Beltway, was bumper-to-bumper by 9:30 a.m. today.
An hour or so later, Patrolman F.E. Sheeler of Baltimore, stationed in front of the track to direct traffic, shook his head and said, "It isn't so bad now because everybody is scattered; it's going out when it'll be really bad."
On the Pimlico infield, ringed by fence and Maryland National Guardsmen, traffic also was heavy, blanket-to-blanket.
The Preakness crowd in the infield is young. Cutoffs and halter tops are the order of the day. Beer coolers outnumbered racing forms by about 30 to 1.
"We're just out for the party; that's what all the peons do," said Jim Smith, 23, of Baltimore. "I've got a lot of film to fool around with and there's a lot of good pictures here.
"The race? "It's one of those races I guess where the winter was decided a long time ago. I'm here more for the color than the event."
There was plenty of color, too: a club lacrosse game, bands, frisbees, a Beatles revue, cloggers, volleyball players and a number of sunbathers. But few serious bettors.
Unile the $10 Kentucky Derby infield fee, it costs only $4 admission here on Preakness Day.
Business was good for the track - a crowd of 40,000 was expected in the infield - but it was nog good for Harvey Kallens, 30, a handicapper.
"Business is pretty bad," said Kallens, who sells a selector's card. "These people are party people. It's a party out here. They don't know what they're doing. Ninety per cent of the people won't see a race."
just then a young lady asked Kallens for a program. He does not sell that item.
"These are selection cards, sweetie," Kallens said. "You want a program? They're over here."
As the woman walked away, Kallens said, "You could make a lot hustling these kids, but I don't believe in it. They're out here for a good time. It's like business now. People have once-a-year shots to make a lot of money. But money ain't everything."
Nevertheless, many people here are after bucks, including some folks who sell parking spaces; program sellers who forget to give change, and other hustlers. Also, the track sells Black-Eyed Susans, Pimlico's vodka, lemon-and fruit-juice answer to the mint juleps, for $2.25.
Parking at Pimlico is always a problem on a regular Saturday when the crowd is about one-fourth of the Preakness turnout. So even stable hands get in on the Preakness act, roping off, space in their stable area and selling spaces at $5 a car.
And you can get a car wash for $2.
On' Winner and Hayward Avenues, the two streets leading to the front entrance, capitalism was thriving. Larry Cook, who runs a Junior's Jolly Preakness turnout. So even stable King mobile ice cream parlor, paid a local resident $5 to park.
"Normally we just find a spot and park," said Cook. "Today we thought we'd be in a hurry, pay the $5 and make some money."
Other entrepreneuers included Eddie Tarrant, who was running a backyard parking lot for his Hayward Avenue neighbor, and Milton Randolph, who joined him in a fried-chicken concession.
They bought a crate of 25 chickens for $20, cut the chickens into quarters, fried them and were selling them for $1.50.
"I just want to make a little money," Tarrant said. "I don't like horses. I can't even stand the smell of them. No, I'm not going in there. I'm not going to take the money I made here and give it right back to Pimlico."