Preakness has come and gone, and once again Pimlico is in the news. Not only for hosting the middle jewel of the Triple Crown but for the possibility that soon it won’t. Year after year, we hear the same thing — the Preakness will move to Laurel Park, Pimlico’s prettier step-sister (“Mud bogs down Preakness 2018, as organizers offer strongest hint that Triple Crown jewel could leave Pimlico,” May 19).
What the Maryland Jockey Club has to realize is that for now, the Preakness is still held at Pimlico and when they invite the world to watch this race they are inviting them into their house. They cut the grass and landscape, paint and primp, put up the rows of folding chairs. But then what they give the fans is an “as is” day in a house in disrepair, not a world-class facility fit for a world-class event.
Fans pay a premium price regardless of their ticket. They should be offered a premium experience. Instead, they’re offered a “pre-apology” that the facility is a dump but it’s OK because we’re moving. Like a real estate broker showing a dilapidated house going up for sale to the highest bidder.
You can’t put a price on the history that Pimlico holds, and you can’t move it. Once it’s gone, it’s gone for good. The records set by all of the champions who have touched the track. The ashes of people who have loved the track. The screams and tears of fans along the apron. You cannot move history no matter how pretty you make Laurel Park.
The taxpayers of Maryland have already supported the racing industry to the tune of tens of millions of dollars. Make the final investment and get a good return on your dollars. Make an investment in the people who live in the area and who work at the facility. Make an investment in the future of an oppressed area. And make an investment in preserving history.
Maribeth Kalinich, Arnold