Baltimore mayor says Preakness wouldn't need to move during Pimlico rebuild

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh said Friday she believes the Pimlico Race Course can be demolished and rebuilt without temporarily relocating the Preakness Stakes.

Pugh told reporters at City Hall that she agrees with the Maryland Stadium Authority’s suggestion that a $434 million rebuild of the track is needed — along with additional development around the site to turn it into a year-round venue.

“I’m very excited,” Pugh said. “The Preakness began in Baltimore. It is Baltimore. The lack of investment that has taken place over decades as it relates to the Pimlico race track is something hat needs to be addressed. … We can get this done without even doing relocation. It’s working together. We can make this work.”

The Maryland Stadium Authority study estimates that a complete rebuild of Pimlico would take three years, during which time some have suggested the race would need to be moved.

But Pugh said she believes the demolition and construction can be done in phases in order to the keep the Preakness — the second leg of horseracing’s triple crown and a major economic booster — in the Park Heights area.

The new Maryland Stadium Authority study aims to design an ideal venue to host the Preakness Stakes and considers several year-round, non-racing uses for the site in Baltimore’s Park Heights area. It recommends adding amenities at the track, such as a grocery store, other shops, a hotel and townhouses.

It, however, makes no recommendations about who should pay for the work. The study suggested Gov. Larry Hogan, Pugh and the owners of the race track, the Stronach Group, meet and come up with a plan.

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