On May 8, the Maryland Jockey Club issued a statement in which it released that it has official filed a Motion to Dismiss in the Circuit Court of Baltimore City for Case No. 24-C-19-001776 in which the City of Baltimore was suing The Stronach Group for control of Pimlico and the Preakness Stakes.
The lawsuit, captioned Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, et al. v. The Stronach Group, et al., was filed on March 19. In the lawsuit, the Mayor and City Council wanted to take ownership of the Preakness Stakes, Pimlico Race Course, the Woodlawn Vase, the Maryland Jockey Club and “related intangible, personal and intellectual property.”
According to the recent statement by MHC attorney Alan Rifkin, “Under State Law, the City has no right to confiscate the privately held assets of the Maryland Jockey Club including the Preakness Stakes and Pimlico Race Course.” He went on to say, “State law is very clear that the City is preempted and precluded from taking that action.”
The official Motion to Dismiss filed with the Circuit Court issued the following statements in favor of dismissal:
- For almost a hundred years, the Maryland Racing Code has provided that the State has “statewide and exclusive” jurisdiction, dominion and control over all aspects of horse racing. Bus. Reg. § 11-102(a).
- The State’s “statewide and exclusive” jurisdiction and dominion extends to all matters affecting racing, including Pimlico Race Course, the Preakness Stakes® and all associated and related horse racing enterprises and activities.
- State law provides that no “county, municipal corporation, or other political subdivision” may “make or enforce a local law, ordinance, or regulation about racing.” § 11-102(b).
- The City is, therefore, preempted and precluded from seeking to condemn and confiscate those privately held assets.
Rifkin disclosed that MJC had approached the City on several occasions over the last few weeks, repeatedly suggesting “that the City should reconsider the wisdom of its lawsuit so that good faith discussions between the City, State and all stakeholders could be conducted without the shadow of this ill-conceived action.” According to Rifkin, the City has not considered their suggestions, and thus the Motion to Dismiss was filed.
“It is disconcerting that the City is attempting to confiscate the Maryland Jockey Club’s private property and assets because we have raised legitimate questions as to whether the Maryland racing industry can sustain two sprawling and capital-intensive racetracks less than 20 miles apart from one another,” said Tim Ritvo, president of MJC.