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Horse Racing

As debate over Pimlico intensifies, Maryland Jockey Club moves show for retired thoroughbreds from the track

It’s not the Preakness Stakes, but the Maryland Jockey Club has decided to move another event away from Pimlico Race Course.

The Totally Thoroughbred Horse Show, which has showcased retired thoroughbreds since 2012 and raised more than $75,000 for thoroughbred aftercare facilities, will be on hiatus until at least 2020, the Jockey Club announced last week.

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The announcement came as debate intensifies over the future of the Preakness at venerable Pimlico.

The Jockey Club’s parent company, the Stronach Group, is pushing for greater state investment in a “supertrack” at Laurel Park that would eventually become the home of Maryland’s largest annual sporting event. Baltimore officials, led by Mayor Catherine Pugh, are calling for a $424 million rehabilitation of Pimlico, which would keep the Preakness in Baltimore long-term and make the facility a centerpiece of community redevelopment efforts.

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The back-and-forth over Pimlico’s future has become a hot topic during the current legislative session in Annapolis.

The decision to shelve the Totally Thoroughbred show was a quiet one, by contrast. The Jockey Club postponed the event from July to October last year because of damage to the Pimlico infield from Preakness day, which was then exacerbated by persistent rains. In announcing the hiatus, Jockey Club president and general manager Sal Sinatra said he’ll look for a different host location (Laurel Park or Rosecroft Raceway are possibilities) and a different time on the racing calendar.

“The Totally Thoroughbred Horse Show has been a success beyond our wildest expectations,” Sinatra said in a statement. “While we look forward to its future revival and are continuing to build on the awareness of the second careers of our OTTBs, the horse show will not take place in 2019.”

Beginning with the first show in 2012, retired thoroughbreds have earned more than $109,000 in purse money from the show, the Jockey Club said. The hope is that such prizes encourage owners to care for horses after their racing careers are over.


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