BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Fog may have obscured last year’s Preakness but the future of the race is clear to the track’s owner.
The Stronach Group is planning to move the race to Laurel Racetrack and wants the state to back a bill using gambling receipts to pay for improvements at that track.
Meanwhile, a second competing bill wants backing to tear down Pimlico and build a new track, along with housing and new businesses according to delegate Sandy Rosenberg.
“This is not a proposal for one day of the year, one week of the year for a racetrack,” said Rosenberg. “This is a proposal that would make the entire area an attraction for the local community, for the whole city, for the whole region.”
It’s not a future Stronach envisions and has made it clear to Mayor Pugh.
“Given Stronach’s total disinvestment in the racetrack over the last two decades,” Pugh responded. “we remain more than skeptical that they can deliver or execute any plan, let alone one that will benefit the community. The Stronach family has simply told us repeatedly ‘no horseracing at Pimlico and we won’t invest a dollar.'”
Stronach’s plan for Laurel keeps the Preakness in Maryland and thinks re-development of Pimlico without a track is what the city should do.
The company issued a statement:
“Sadly, the mayor is not willing to entertain alternatives on this issue and the only response is the introduction of yet another bill calling for yet another study on Pimlico.”
Governor Hogan weighed in on the issue.
“Many of us would like the see the Preakness stay in Baltimore and stay at Pimlico,” Hogan said. “but there’s a lot of money to be invested and the owners of the track don’t want to do it, the city doesn’t want to do it, and the state doesn’t want to do it. So we’ve got to figure out some kind of solution or come up with another plan.”
The only certainty is that the Preakness will run at Pimlico this year.
But the future is far from certain.