BALTIMORE — The Preakness will remain a fixture at timeworn Pimlico Race Course, which will receive a much-needed facelift following the passing of a bill to redevelop Maryland tracks.
Gov. Larry Hogan permitted a bill to become law that would enable the Maryland Stadium Authority to issue up to $375 million in bonds to refurbish Pimlico and Laurel Park. The money would be paid back by the state lottery and casino proceeds already designated to subsidize the racing industry.
This year’s Preakness was scheduled for May 16 at Pimlico but was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. A new date has not yet been set, but reports last week said the race could still be run on one of three dates this summer or fall.
The Maryland Jockey Club and NBC Sports have set aside three possible dates. The NBC affiliate in Baltimore reported the Preakness will be run Oct. 3, but a person close to the situation told the Associated Press that is one of the three possible dates, along with one each in July and August.
State and local authorities, racing officials and TV executives are expected to make the determination based on the health and safety situation as it develops.
The Stronach Group which owns Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore and Laurel Park in Laurel, Maryland — said in a statement, “There is no definitive date set and we continue to explore options” for the Preakness.
For the past several years, the Preakness was run on the third Saturday in May amid speculation that the prestigious race would ultimately be forced to leave Pimlico, which opened in 1870 and was clearly showing its age. Now, with a pending overhaul of Pimlico and the accompanying plan to augment the surrounding neighborhood, the second jewel of the Triple Crown will stay in Baltimore for years to come.
The Racing and Community Development Act is designed to upgrade Pimlico for racing and convert it into a multipurpose venue. When it’s not staging races, the track’s clubhouse and facilities will be used for community activities and other public purposes.
The goal for Laurel Park: To make it a racing and training facility with a horse diagnostic center, new racing and training surfaces, and modern stables and barns.
Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.