My wife and I had the pleasure of visiting Baltimore for the first time last week. The people we encountered were remarkably friendly, the restaurants excellent, and the neighborhoods intriguing.
Being a thoroughbred horse racing fan, and having visited many of the storied tracks across the country, Pimlico was on our "must-do" list. We were surprised and disappointed to see that the track that hosted the Sea Biscuit/War Admiral match race — among many other historic races — is in such deplorable condition. It is as though Boston let Fenway Park go to ruin. It would be a sad day, but Baltimore will eventually lose the Preakness unless Pimlico undergoes major renovations.
Better yet, raze the old track and build a new one someplace in the downtown area, if possible near the other ballparks. And, although I am not a big fan of casinos at race tracks, since Maryland seems to be moving in that direction, any new track should include slots. The casino would attract locals and tourists to the venue outside the racing season and help keep the new Pimlico economically viable.
If Baltimore is to keep the Preakness — and bolster its tradition as one of the premier locations for thoroughbred horse racing — you've got to think big. On the subject of thinking big, if Domino Sugar ever decides to shutter it's factory on the point, don't build condos on the old factory site — build the new Pimlico there and keep the Domino sign as a backdrop. Imagine thoroughbred horse racing on the waterfront at the new Pimlico with the Domino Sugar sign as a backdrop — now that would give even Churchill Downs a run for its money!
Michael M. Woody, Providence, RICopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun