Baltimore County’s delegates are lining up to support Baltimore City’s lawmakers in their efforts to prevent the owners of Pimlico Race Course from moving the Preakness Stakes and abandoning the track.
The county delegates are working on a letter in support of an effort by Baltimore Sen. Bill Ferguson to require that the track’s owner, Stronach Group, to get state approval of a redevelopment plan and conduct a study of effects on the neighborhood before issuing bonds that would finance a major redevelopment at the company’s Laurel Park in Anne Arundel County.
The letter, to be sent out later this week, will detail how both the city and the county benefit from having the Preakness Stakes as well as other horse races at Pimlico, said Del. Pat Young, chairman of the Baltimore County delegation.
The letter will discuss “the impact that losing the Preakness would have on Baltimore County as well,” Young said during a meeting of the county’s delegates Tuesday.
Fearing the loss of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course, Baltimore’s state Senate delegation is asking the Budget and Taxation Committee to kill a bill that would provide funding for a “super track” at Laurel Park.
Ferguson is trying to get that requirement added to a bill that would allow the Stronach Group to accelerate its renovations at Laurel Park by issuing bonds using part of the state’s proceeds from slot machines that are set aside for racetrack improvements.
State and local lawmakers have said for years they do not want to see the Preakness leave Baltimore. Yet no one raised any alarms as Pimlico's owner was focusing most of its finances of turning Laurel Park into a "super track" that would host the third leg of the Triple Crown.
“There isn’t a lot of talk generally about Baltimore County and Baltimore City folks in this together, but we all know the impacts that losing the Preakness would have on both the county and the city,” Young said.