Mythology lesson, Preakness style


We've all had our fun with Kegasus, the half-man, half-horse, beer-chugging mascot of the Preakness Stakes Infieldfest this year. But here's a fun (and by fun, we mean dorky) fact: the actual mythological creature Pegasus wasn't half-man, half-horse. That's a centaur. Oops!

Turns out the ad brains at Elevation Ltd. responsible for the controversial campaign actually do know the difference between a pegasus (the winged horse) and a centaur.

"The genesis of the idea was what better character to represent the legendary InfieldFest party than a centaur?" said Creative Director Mike Martin. "[It being a horse race], we were taking the best of both worlds so that led us naturally to a centaur — but a centaur with some attitude. Kegasus is more a representative of the infield's personality of the fans. Yes, it’s a play on the winged horse, but ... that was the name that floated to the top and kind of rolled off the tongue."

Since the ad campaign started last month, critics have taken it to task, chastising the ad firm and Preakness organizers for stooping to such a lowbrow mascot. To be clear, the mascot is not for the Preakness Stakes, it’s for the race’s InfieldFest, the day-long party in the infield for people who don't really care about big hats and Black Eyed Susan cocktails. Well, OK, they might care about the latter. But you get our point.

Martin said he had anticipated the campaign getting backlash. (But then again, the backlash is free advertising, right?)

"We absolutely knew we'd strike a nerve," he said. "There's really two events taking place that Saturday. There's the legendary race, the grandstands for people who want to sip their Black Eyed Susans and wear their big hats. But there's a totally separate event within the rails and that’s who we’re talking to. "

The Preakness, the second leg of the Triple Crown, is scheduled for May 21 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.

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