Pimlico Race Course

  • Maryland passed bill MD SB 987 to renovate the horse racing tracks where the Preakness Stakes takes place.
  • The Preakness, which is held in Baltimore, has been postponed and no new date has been announced yet.

BALTIMOREMaryland Senate Bill 987 was enacted without Governor Larry Hogan’s signature which will allow $375 million to go toward renovating two horse racing tracks in Maryland.

This includes the historical Preakness Stakes in Baltimore.

The Pimlico course and Laurel Park will undergo a complete overhaul with the money as well as add the Bowie Race Course and Training Center. The bill, which received approval on Thursday, requires the money be paid back over 30 years by profits received by subsidies of the track from casinos within Maryland.

Maryland Horse Racing Plan

The plan for the reconstruction of the race track began to take shape in October 2019 once it was decided that the Preakness Stakes would remain a Baltimore event.

The 149-year-old track will be completely torn down and redone.

It is expected to take anywhere from 3-4 years to complete renovations but that will not stop events from taking place. All races will go on as planned even while the venue is under construction.

Temporary accommodations will be put into place for the Preakness Stakes and other races.

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Preakness was put on hold this year. No new date has been scheduled for it to be held. The rumored October dates are without merit as no real announcements have been made yet.

The track is ready to begin construction immediately as waiting on the approval for the bill allowed renovators to get a head start. However, Pimlico is currently being used as a testing center for COVID-19 in Maryland so while everything is ready, it will need to be put on hold as is what the presence of COVID-19 has been known to do.

Going Through Without A Signature

The bill passed without the Governor’s signature as it was approved by both the House and the Senate. Hogan could’ve vetoed the bill but he chose to do nothing which turned the bill into law after the signature deadline expired.

“As I made clear last month, given these challenges, it would be irresponsible to allow legislation that requires increasing spending to become law. I am committed to working with legislative leaders on both sides of the aisle as we confront these difficult budget choices on the road to economic recovery,” said Hogan.

However, now that the bill has become law, those in the horse racing world could not be happier. The Preakness Stakes is part of the fabric that makes Baltimore the city it is.

These renovations will allow for the tradition to continue for years to come. The last track gave the city 149 good years, maybe this one will give fans another 149 years of great horse betting on Preakness.

“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.

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