The race may be moved soon.
The clock is ticking. The Preakness, the middle race of Thoroughbred Racing’s Triple Crown will take place at Baltimore’s Pimlico track this year and in 2020. After that, the event could be held at Laurel Park in Maryland. Baltimore may sue Pimlico’s owners to make sure the Preakness Stakes doesn’t leave Baltimore for another Maryland racetrack after the 2020 race. Baltimore is thinking about taking over the track. Meanwhile, the Jockey Club, the Baltimore Development Corporation, the Maryland Stadium Authority and the city of Baltimore commissioned a renovation of the track study and renovating the place has a $424 million price tag. No word how to fund the project.
The Preakness Stakes, thoroughbred racing’s second oldest Triple Crown race started at Pimlico in 1873. The race moved to the Bronx, New York in 1890 and returned to Baltimore in 1909. It is not unusual to see 100,000 people attend the race at Pimlico which is 149 years old and is in need of major renovations. The Pimlico’s owners just want to take the wrecking ball out and use it on old track, Baltimore thinks redeveloping the track and its surrounding area would save the place and the race. The Maryland Stadium Authority, which among other entities has the Baltimore Orioles baseball stadium and the Baltimore Ravens football facility and funds the venues upkeep and pays off the facilities debt, is involved. The horse racing has seen an incredible drop in popularity for a variety of reasons over the past five decades including other forms of available betting. It does attract people for a onetime event like the Preakness. Pimlico is only running live racing 12 days in 2019. Pimlico’s owners have told state elected officials that the racetrack has reached the end of its useful life as a major event venue.