Talks Renew Hope Of Keeping Preakness At Pimlico Beyond '20
Officials negotiating the future of Pimlico Race Course said that talks have been "progressing positively enough [that] the Preakness Stakes could be run in Baltimore" beyond '20, which "many feared could be its last year in the city," according to Donovan & Kim of the BALTIMORE SUN. Baltimore city government and Maryland Jockey Club officials "struck an optimistic and unified tone" while addressing the Maryland Racing Commission during its meeting at Laurel Park. Discussions "began in earnest this month after city officials withdrew a lawsuit to seize the 149-year-old Pimlico Race Course and the second leg of horse racing's Triple Crown from The Stronach Group." Maryland Racing Commission Chair Michael Algeo "praised the two sides for coming together to talk after months of what he described as 'vitriol and personal attacks' over the future of Pimlico and Laurel Park." Algeo and former Baltimore Development Corp. CEO Bill Cole said that it is "possible the Preakness could remain at Pimlico" through '21 if negotiations can "lead to a plan to pay for essential repairs." A water main broke near Pimlico in the days leading up to the Preakness last month, forcing the closure of nearly all the women's bathrooms (BALTIMORE SUN, 6/28).
MISSED A STEP: The Maryland Jockey Club on Thursday said that it would "devise and submit a capital construction plan to detail racetrack renovations that have already received public subsidies even though horse racing regulators never approved a spending blueprint as required by state regulations." In Baltimore, Doug Donovan notes the Racing Commission had been "scheduled at its Thursday meeting to approve" a $4.4M reimbursement to the Jockey Club for Laurel Park renovations in '18. But the item was removed after the nine-member volunteer panel was informed that "under state regulations, the company can qualify for grants only after the commission receives and approves a capital construction plan" (BALTIMORE SUN, 6/28).