BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s official. Preakness is staying in Baltimore.
Over the weekend, a $375 million deal was struck between city officials, Pimlico’s owners and the horse racing industry to keep the second-leg of the Triple Crown in the city.
Officials said it’s a ‘generational win’ for keeping the historic race in the city.
This deal was born out of the city dropping a lawsuit against the group that owns the racetrack.
Pending state approval, the run-down racetrack is set to get a $200 million rebuild.
“It’s a revolutionary plan. It’s transformative. It’s iconic, and I believe Maryland racing will become the epicenter of the thoroughbred industry,” said Alan Foreman of the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association.
The deal includes demolition and rebuild of the 149-year-old racetrack in Northwest Baltimore.
If approved by state lawmakers and the governor, track owner, The Stronach Group would donate the track to the city for redevelopment, creating more development and recreational fields in the infield.
“Our team worked and worked and worked and came up with the deal we have now,” said Mayor Jack Young.
It comes after the city had filed a lawsuit against the Stronach Group. The last time Young and Belinda Stronach were seen in public, the race track owner CEO was seen leaving his side during the trophy presentation.
But the Mayor said that day actually opened the door to this move.
“Her main concern was this lawsuit and she asked would I stop the lawsuit so we could go forward and have a conversation. And, I said, ‘sure,'” said Young.
Young, and elected officials sent a letter to Governor Larry Hogan Friday, notifying him of the deal and urging his support.
In a statement from Shareese DeLeaver-Churchill, with Maryland state government, the governor said he would like to see the Preakness stay in Baltimore.
“The governor has said that he would like to see the Preakness stay in Baltimore. This is a very preliminary proposal that we will review, and discuss with the legislature.” DeLeaver-Churchill said.
“Like any deal, it requires a little give and take from everybody. I think that’s what makes this a really strong deal,” said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski.
The deal would move training and stable operations to Laurel Park.
The Preakness Stakes would not be moved, even during construction, which would be expected to last 3 to 4 years.
“I believe this is a win-win for horse-racing, for the city, for the state, for the industry, for our reputation and for this city and this state’s legacy,” said Alan Rifkin, of the Maryland Jockey Club.
If approved the grandstand and clubhouse would be demolished and rebuilt.
The track itself would also be turned 30 degrees in hopes of adding a grocery store and hotel on site.