Yesterday afternoon (March 19), Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh held a press conference to announce that she, the City Council and three residents have jointly filed a lawsuit against The Stronach Group (TSG) in hopes to keep the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico. The lawsuit claims that that TSG, owners of Pimlico, is “openly planning to violate Maryland law by moving the Preakness to a different racetrack despite the absence of any disaster or emergency.”
Current Maryland law states that the Preakness Stakes cannot be moved from Pimlico unless there is a natural disaster or emergency situation forcing the race to be held elsewhere in Maryland. David Mcfadden of the Associated Press reported that through an email correspondence with TSG, a representative from TSG stated that the company “believes these actions are premature and unfounded.”
The lawsuit accuses TSG of creating a “disaster” by under investing in Pimlico and instead, they have spent the majority of the state aid it receives on Laurel Park. The lawsuit asks the court to grant ownership of Pimlico and the Preakness to the City of Baltimore through condemnation. The lawsuit also asks that TSG be prevented from using any additional state bonds to fund improvements at Laurel.
TSG had previously stated that they intend to keep the Preakness at Pimlico through 2020 and a study conducted by the Maryland Stadium Authority stated that it would cost $424 million to tear down Pimlico and rebuild from scratch. Mayor Pugh strongly endorses the redevelopment plan recommended by MSA. When the study’s findings were announced last December, TSG also expressed their support of the proposal but stated they could not pay for the entire project on their own.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan told WBAL radio, “the overwhelming number of people in Maryland don’t really care where [the Preakness] is held. They would just like to keep it in Maryland.” He did add that personally, he would like to see the race remain in Baltimore.
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