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Volume 24 No. 116

Events and Attractions

While the Preakness “attracts crowds to Baltimore and millions of dollars in bets, sponsorships and television exposure, the extra financial boost from the slots largesse is welcome for an industry that has faced near-collapse in recent years,” according to Hanah Cho of the Baltimore SUN. Maryland Jockey Club Racing Secretary Georganne Hale said, "I love more money."  Hale said that higher purses for stakes races during Preakness weekend "draw more and better horses for fully fielded races.” While racing officials work “to find a viable business model for the sport, they say slots revenue is helping to stabilize the industry and solidify the Preakness' future in Maryland.” Cho: “Put another way: A financially healthier industry means a more stable Preakness, the state's single largest sporting event.” Declines in attendance and wagering “hurt the Maryland Jockey Club, which lost tens of millions of dollars over the past decade.” Pimlico Race Course, which has been historically profitable because of the Preakness and helped financially support Laurel Park's operations, "lost money for the first time in a decade in 2008.” But slots revenue “helped revive the historic Pimlico Special … last run in 2008 before it was put on hold due to lack of money” (Baltimore SUN, 5/16).