Beautiful weather, a spirited commercial campaign, and the prospect of an anything-goes race combined to draw a huge crowd to Pimlico Race Course on Saturday.

Attendance was 107,398, the sixth-largest throng in Preakness history.

The handle was $76,376,689 - seventh-most in the history of the race.

Presiding over the beer-swilling crowd in the infield was Kegasus, half-man, half-thoroughbred, and thoroughly bizarre. The bare-chested hybrid entertained the media Saturday morning in a tiny tent decorated with bikini tops and a mask of Bacchus, the Roman god of wine.

The centaur with shoulder-length hair, a brown beard, and a pierced left nipple was asked whether he feared losing some of his followers to the Great Beyond on the predicted day of the Rapture.

"Whether or not the world ends today," Kegasus said, "everyone in the infield will die happy."

Zito denied

With a win in the Preakness, Dialed In would have secured a $6.1 million payday - including $500,000 for trainer Nick Zito.

Dialed In is known for his ability to close, and he did just that Saturday. But, after falling into 14th place at the three-quarter pole, his standard rally was good only for fourth.

"It didn't work out," Zito said. "He still came with his run, like he always does. He's a gallant horse."

On this day, however, Dialed In had too big a deficit to overcome.

"I finally got through the second turn and was ready to make his run, but it wasn't enough," jockey Julien Leparoux said. "He ran good, but his style sometimes works against him."

Party time

Dean and Patti Reeves co-own Mucho Macho Man, who finished sixth. The Reeveses and their entourage entertained seven racing writers and a thoroughbred owner at a restaurant Friday night with a rousing chorus of the Village People's 1978 disco classic "Macho Man." . . . One of the differences between the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness: the price of a signature drink. At Churchill Downs, mint juleps went for $10. A Black-Eyed Susan cost "only" $8.