Pimlico and the Preakness are institutions individually, but together they are much more.
The Preakness at Laurel Park won’t work (“'Another brutal blow:' Baltimore acting mayor asks lawmakers to help preserve Pimlico, Preakness,” Apr. 4). The track in Laurel is situated near and on a wetland, which makes the property prone to extreme flooding. I suggest someone look at the pictures during the extreme rains of May 2018. How could you possibly park and or transport over 100,000 people in and out of that facility should that flooding happen again? Laurel also can’t handle a crowd of more than 100,000.
The Maryland Stadium Authority feasibility study doesn’t work. I have read the more than 200-page report and suggest that the readers do the same. A proposed “turf tray system” is not a feasible option. The surface a horse races on goes much deeper than the proposed system. I suggest the engineers ask a track expert. With the current atmosphere of racing surfaces, this is a serious consideration. Additionally, it does not make sense to put a turf course inside of at 7/8’s mile track. The turns would be too tight and too narrow to accommodate a race. The “stakeholders,” specifically LifeBridge Health, appear to be big players in this illogical proposal. For those who don’t know, Lifebridge Health owns Sinai Medical Center, which is adjacent to Pimlico. They clearly have ulterior motives. LifeBridge Health wants the land to expand their campus and they say so in their white paper published this year and posted on their website. Additionally, a similar model was introduced at Gulfstream Park, restaurants, shops, etc., half of which is empty space. It seems to me that Baltimore does not need new inventory like this. It needs to use what it already has.
A “mega track” won’t work. The number of horses who need to train on a daily basis on one track and then run that track causes issues. Those being a safe training and racing surface and on track collisions to name a few. I would be interested to see the proposed cost of turning Bowie into a “Fair Hill” type training center.
Moving the Preakness out of Baltimore and closing Pimlico would hurt the city of Baltimore and surrounding neighborhoods. There are millions of dollars in revenue the city will lose. The loss of jobs to an admittedly depressed neighborhood would be detrimental. Pimlico provides a buffer to the neighborhoods. Pimlico has an opportunity to be a progressive arena for the city of Baltimore and its struggling neighborhoods.
The Preakness and Pimlico work. The Preakness at Pimlico works.
Gabrielle Fisher Bredin