Delegate Ric Metzgar (R-6) recently attended a Joint Briefing of the Baltimore City Delegation and Baltimore County Delegation about the proposed Pimlico development plan to improve Pimlico Race Course and keep the Preakness Stakes, the second jewel of the Triple Crown, Horse Race in Baltimore.
Pimlico Race Course opened in 1870 and the Preakness Race started in 1873. The 1 3/16 mile track is owned by The Stronach Group, a Canadian company, and is managed by the Maryland Jockey Club. It is estimated that ten thousand people are employed with the racing industry in Maryland.
The Preakness Stakes is a national event held each May and brings in between $8-$10 Million to the City of Baltimore, State of Maryland, and tourism. It is the largest one day sporting event in the country. The Preakness is an economic, cultural, and historical regional event that spotlights Baltimore and women sporting their spring hats.
The proposal would include a year round facility to include 175-180 days of horse racing and a community use facility as a regional park with pedestrian bridges to get to six multi-purpose fields in the infield. Other community events would include festivals, farmers markets, crab feasts, etc.
The plan calls redevelopment of 50 acres to include a slightly rotated oval dirt track, turf track, multi-purpose event center, new equine center, track view dining, enclosed track view lounge, open track view lounge, suites, smaller clubhouse and grandstands to allow greater room with family friendly grass berms for lawn seating with picnic areas and pond boardwalk.
It would also include a mix use of retail stores, restaurants, and a hotel which could be used by family members of patients at nearby Sinai Hospital since there are no hotels in the local area.
The facility would remain open during the construction. All this is being done to keep the Preakness in Baltimore and give an economic boost to the Park Heights neighborhood.
The original cost was $420 Million. The October 2019 revised plan is now $375 Million in which the cost will be shared by The Stronach Group, Maryland Stadium Authority, and Maryland Jockey Club. Thirty year bonds will also go to improve Laurel Park and Timonium Race Track.
“This is good conversation,” says Delegate Metzgar. “The Preakness is the gem of Baltimore City and Timonium is the diamond of Baltimore County. We need to make sure these projects get done,” concludes Delegate Metzgar.