Preserving the Preakness at 147-year-old Pimlico Race Course would require a “complete rebuild” at a cost of $300 million to $500 million, says the track owner, which has no plans to foot the bill.
Since we attended our first race at Pimlico, we have learned that the horse in the lead on the backstretch is often not the horse who gets his nose in front at the finish. That maxim also applies to the policy-making process.
Both state and city governments funded a study by the Maryland Stadium Authority to "determine the extent of [their] … potential support to renovate or rebuild Pimlico Race Course to remain the long-term home for the Preakness Stakes."
The first phase of that study has been completed. It concludes, "[T]here do not appear to be any situational factors that cannot be overcome with regard to continue hosting the Preakness at Pimlico." The potential price tag for a public-private partnership is between $250 million and $325 million. That has prompted both the business and the philanthropic communities to come forward with proposals that would enhance the public's use of the site, benefit the surrounding Park Heights community and lower the public's share of the cost to build a 21st century facility.
This past May, yet another record breaking crowd came to Pimlico to watch the 142nd running there of the Preakness Stakes. It's premature to call Laurel the winner and Pimlico the loser when it comes to the future of the second jewel of the Triple Crown.
Sandy Rosenberg, William H. Cole IV, Mark Fetting, Kirby Fowler, Cheo Hurley, Howard Libit and Neil Meltzer, Baltimore
Mr. Rosenberg, a Democrat, represents District 41, Baltimore, in the Maryland House of Delegates; Mr. Cole is president and CEO of the Baltimore Development Corporation; Mr. Fetting represents the Camp Brightside Foundation; Mr. Fowler is president of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore; Mr. Hurley is executive director of Park Heights Renaissance; Mr. Libit is executive director of the Baltimore Jewish Council; and Mr. Meltzer is president and CEO of Lifebridge Health.