The protests in Baltimore have called attention to police brutality and inspired demonstrations all over the nation, but they haven't yet affected the Preakness Stakes. The Baltimore Sun reported Thursday that planning for the second leg of the Triple Crown of horse racing, scheduled for May 16, is going forward normally.
"I have full faith in the state, the government, law and order," horse owner Ahmed Zayat told USA Today. "Hopefully everything will pan out well. We are a civilized nation. We should act as such."
Protests turned into riots Monday night in Baltimore, where black 25-year-old Freddie Gray died April 19 of injuries sustained in police custody a week earlier. Police arrested more than 235 people while firefighters battled blazes in 144 vehicles and 15 buildings. The violence caused Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to institute an emergency curfew.
Earlier this week, the riots caused the Baltimore Orioles to play the Chicago White Sox in an empty stadium. But the Preakness was still set to take place as usual at the Pimlico Race Course. The venue is about 12 minutes by car from the intersection of Pennsylvania and North avenues, the area that saw the most protests after Gray's death.
Horse trainers and owners told reporters they weren't worried about competing in the Preakness. "Hopefully, it’s a situation that’s not going to last long," trainer Todd Pletcher told the Baltimore Sun. "Like any American, you’re concerned about it and the safety of people. But I think it should be resolved in time."
The Preakness happens between the Kentucky Derby, scheduled for Saturday, and the Belmont Stakes in New York, on June 6.