Watch this evening’s news for the latest on Laurel!
This morning, December 17, 2009, news cameras and reporters descended on Laurel Park for the latest in the slots saga.
Anne Arundel County Council members were invited to a meeting by the Maryland Horse Council, to review how, with a new owner come January 9th (the date of the auction), Laurel Park is “shovel-ready” for slots, whereas, according to the Jockey Club’s estimations, it will take close to five years for slots to be up and running at Arundel Mills. The Jockey Club has already obtained all necessary permits and zoning approvals, already has all the environmental impact studies, and everything else they need to immediately adapt the racetrack for slots (see attached).
After the Council members refused to attend, a press conference unveiling the “slots-shovel-readiness” of Laurel Park was held, with t.v. cameras and news reporters in full attendance.
The Council is scheduled to vote Monday, December 21 on the Cordish request.
The theory is that if Arundel Mills were to be approved for slots, Laurel Racetrack’s value will plummet, making it unlikely that anyone will bid on the park as a racetrack – but certainly making the property more appealing to developers, all in all making approval for slots at Arundel Mills a death knell for racing at Laurel. The Equiery agrees that the prospects for Laurel and Maryland Thoroughbred racing are quite dim if the Council approves slots at Arundel Mills.
Most of the County Council members say that they prefer slots at Laurel, but are making the false case that slots at Laurel is not on the table (because Magna, the owners of the track, did not appropriately file their slots request).
Why is this a false statement? Well, were the Council to vote against the zoning request, the State Lottery Commission would be forced to reopen bids for an Anne Arundel County site, and at that point, Laurel will have new owners who will be able to apply for slots.
What Can Horsemen Do?
Attend the Saturday, December 19 rally at 11 a.m. at Laurel Park. Track entry fees are waived for all rally participants on this, the last day of racing at Laurel Park in 2009. The rally is organized, in part, by the Maryland Horse Council.