The Baltimore Sun reported last week that a multi-party agreement (dependent on legislative change) was reached to keep the Preakness Stakes– the middle jewel of American racing’s Triple Crown, at Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore for at least the next 30 years.
The deal, which relies on an extension of the Racetrack Facilities Renewal Account which is funded by casino revenue, would lead to a new grandstand at both Pimlico (rendering pictured above) and Laurel Park – racetracks owned by the infamous Stronach Group.
Negotiations among the various parties have taken place over the past four months and followed a lawsuit – since dropped – by the City of Baltimore against the Stronach Group, which previously said it would not commit to holding the Preakness at Pimlico beyond 2020.
Additional improvements would include a 30-degree rotation of the racing oval at Pimlico which would facilitate private development, and new stabling for 1,500 horses. Dormitories would be added at Laurel, as well as the addition of a synthetic track to be installed alongside the current dirt and turf surfaces.
All of the Pimlico property is to be donated to the City of Baltimore, with the Maryland Jockey Club (owned by the Stronach Group) signing a 30-year lease to operate a spring meet there, which would include the Preakness Stakes.
The Baltimore Sun also reported that there was a three- to four-year timeline for completion of the project, but said the Preakness would go on as scheduled during construction.
The Daily Racing Blog is supportive of the decision, and looks forward to the day when this vision becomes a reality.