Just as a second phase to study Pimlico Race Course’s future moves forward, Baltimore County Del. Pat McDonough is hoping the General Assembly will help him replace the track and bring the Preakness Stakes out of the city and into the county.
McDonough, an outspoken conservative who’s unsuccessfully run for Congress, introduced a prank amendment to mock a voting-rights bill and is now hoping to fill Kevin Kamenetz’s shoes as county executive, has proposed legislation that would launch a study about building a “supertrack and performance center” for horse racing and other entertainment in Baltimore County.
“The spots are there, the population is there, the desire is there, the interest is there, the potential is there,” McDonough told Fox45. “Should have been done a long time ago.”
The TV station frames it as though McDonough wants to relocate the nation’s second oldest race track. The bill doesn’t quite say that, but rather proposes a new track be built with private money, and says it would “replace Pimlico Race Course, to conduct the Preakness Stakes and other horse races, and to serve as a venue for other sporting and entertainment events.”
Baltimore benefits greatly from getting to host the Triple Crown race each year at its historic racetrack, but its owner, the Maryland Jockey Club, has said the track is too old to renovate and needs a complete rebuild. If no action is taken, the Preakness could be moved to the newer Laurel Park racetrack, which is also owned by the Maryland Jockey Club.
The state is looking into it. The Baltimore Sun reported Thursday that the Maryland Racing Commission, which regulates the state’s horse racing industry, voted to approve funding for a second phase of a study on Pimlico’s future.
The first phase, released last February, determined that renovating the track would cost between $250 and $300 million. The second phase would compare the benefits of renovating Pimlico versus building a new track, any impact on the surrounding neighborhoods in Northwest Baltimore and the potential for hosting more non-racing events at the facility.
The study alone costs $426,000. The Maryland Stadium Authority’s board and General Assembly budget chairs would still need to sign off to fund the second phase.