Pressure Will Continue To Mount for Move of Preakness Stakes
Despite criticism of Pimlico and pressure to move the Preakness Stakes to another site, the second leg of the Triple Crown will remain in Baltimore at Pimlico Race Course.
“The Preakness will be run at Pimlico for the foreseeable future,” Sal Sinatra told the Thoroughbred Daily News this month. Sinatra is president and general manager of Laurel and sister track Pimlico, “We are working with the state on options for upgrading the facility and studies are being done for feasability.”
The Maryland Jockey Club hasn’t ruled out moving the Preakness Stakes years down the road, with nearby Laurel Park the favorite as it upgrades its facilities in the midst of a $200 million renovation.
Pimlico Race Course is one of Baltimore’s and the State of Maryland’s most well-known landmarks. Built in 1870, it’s the second oldest track in the country behind Saratoga Springs.
“This building is old, you just can’t add suites to it,” Sinatra said of Pimlico before last year’s Preakness Stakes. “It’s almost a rebuild here, where Laurel is a pretty healthy building. Laurel you can renovate, so that plays into it as well. … Obviously, we have more acreage over at Laurel than we do here.”
The Preakness Stakes draws more than 100,000 annually to the Baltimore oval as the Mid-Atlantic’s largest single-day sporting event. Tracks nationwide would covet the race’s international exposure,
Those who don’t want the Preakness moved, either chronologically or geographically, have one important ally — at least for the next three years. As he stood on the jockey terrace watching the races last May, Maryland governor Larry Hogan weighed in on what is surely to continue to be a hot-button issue.
“It’s just critically important for the Preakness to stay here in Maryland,” Hogan said. “It’s part of our history and culture, and we’re going to keep it here in Baltimore.”
Unfortunately, at a time when cities like Baltimore desperately need economic assistance from the business community to help rebuild communities and areas like the historic Park Heights neighborhood that supports Pimlico, it appears the it’s just a matter of time before the old landmark has a new Preakness home.