ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland lawmakers are considering a bill that would revitalize the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore in a bid to keep the Preakness Stakes in the city.
A deal announced last fall needs legislative approval before it can take effect. The nearly $400 million plan would make Pimlico more of a recreational and event facility with the Laurel Park Horse Racing Track focusing more on horses.
The Preakness has called Pimlico home since 1909, and city leaders are eager to keep the tradition going.
“It’s about regional cooperation. It’s about civic pride and economic development,” House Speaker Adrienne Jones, who’s sponsoring the legislation, said.
Under the plan, the current owners, Stronach, donate the Pimlico property to the city and lease it back for the Preakness. Pimlico would get a new clubhouse, track, athletic fields and property it could sell to private developers.
“Despite the fact that Laurel race track is in Anne Arundel County where I am the county executive, the Preakness belongs in Baltimore City,” County Executive Steuart Pittman said.
Among the improvements the Laurel facility will see are a new clubhouse, track, stalls and training facilities.
Between the two tracks, there would be a combined 180 racing days each year.