On the day before the Preakness, the streets around Pimlico Race Course were mostly quiet. A few residents were out selling water and trinkets, but aside from the main roads—Park Heights Avenue, Belvedere Avenue, Northern Parkway—the residential neighborhood sleepily enjoyed a perfect summer day, residents hanging out on their porches, sitting beneath trees, playing in playgrounds, gardening.
22-year-old Aaron Dove guided a visitor around the Garrison neighborhood, talking about life in Baltimore. He’s lived here his whole life, aside from a year at community college in Kansas. He ran track, a speedy, sprinting hurdler, at Carver Vocational-Technical High School, a little southeast of here. It was at Carver, recent three-time city champs in track and field, that he met Tony Pridgen, the high school track coach whom he calls his mentor.
A 2011 Baltimore Sun “notable,” Dove recently completed a Baltimore City construction training program, but has so far not found employment, even with the certifications he earned through the program, which paid participants as they learned. So when he heard that Pimlico was hiring for the Preakness, in the neighborhood in which he was born and to which he recently returned, he applied and was given a janitorial stint for the weekend.
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