BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Along with dishing up crab cakes and fried chicken- owners, trainers and jockeys also had something new to chew over at this year’s Alibi Breakfast; the very real possibility that Preakness will leave Pimlico in 2021.
“It would be kind of like if they took the Derby away from Louisville, which would be horrible,” said Sherri McPeek, owner of “Signalman,”. “So I think it should stay, maybe they want to update the facility or maybe build a new facility.”
A new Pimlico is what Baltimore is pushing for.
“I think we’re going to have a win-win where everybody gets exactly what they want,” Mayor Jack Young said. “As long as the Preakness stays in Baltimore and they fix up Pimlico.”
But neither the track’s owner, the state or the City are anxious to put up over $400 million for a new track.
“We’ve had engineers come in and say you can’t build sky suites, actually you can’t build anything. This building has lived its lifespan and you need a new building,” said Tim Ritvo, Stronach Group CEO, which owns Pimlico.
Instead, the Stronach Group is pumping most of its money into its racetrack in Laurel, where it would likely move the Preakness.
“We’re investing in what’s in the best interest of the state of Maryland in year-round racing, not just the one day and the one big race,” Ritvo said.
The City is hoping for more than a new track. It predicts renewal will spread beyond grandstands and finish lines.
Investing in the community around the track is also a proposal- something Kentucky has already done.
McPeek has seen it firsthand.
“It’s not all that different than Churchill Downs, even the neighborhood there, they’ve needed to do some work in the neighborhood, and they’ve done that. And that’s paid off handsomely,” McPeek said.
There’s something that has nothing to do with economics in this issue.
“Pimlico and the Preakness, there’s a lot of tradition. So you love tradition and you love history, so of course, I’d like to see it stay there,” said Mark Casse, trainer of “War of Will,”.