Stronach Group Sells Maryland’s Iconic Pimlico Race Course for $1: Revitalization Plan Underway

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In a historic show of faith in the future of horseracing in the area, the Stronach Group, proprietors of the legendary Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore – the long-standing home of the Preakness Stakes – has agreed to sell the stoic track to the State of Maryland for a mere $1.

The Maryland Board of Public Works endorsed the monumental plan on Wednesday, outlining a comprehensive rebuild of this famed venue. The state will undertake the responsibility of running the track as a non-profit entity, agreeing to pay Stronach a substantial amount each year for the privilege of using the prestigious Preakness Stakes name and hosting the illustrious race.

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Just last week, Maryland’s Democratic Governor Wes Moore signed into law a bill that authorizes $400 million in state bonds to cover the comprehensive renovations. The Preakness Stakes will continue to run at Pimlico this coming Saturday (May 18), and again next year, before transitioning to Laurel Park in 2026 during the extensive renovations. If all goes as planned, the Preakness will grace the starting gates at a revitalized Pimlico in 2027.

Laurel Park, another jewel in the Stronach Group’s portfolio, will eventually close its gates after a remarkable 110 years in operation, to let Pimlico shine once again as per the contract terms.

This bold move has garnered the support of many who believe it will rejuvenate and consolidate racing in the state. They view it as a safeguard for the Preakness Stakes, while ensuring it stays true to its roots. The Preakness Stakes, a race first run in 1873, holds a special place in the hearts of Marylanders and is a mainstay of the state’s cultural identity.

Governor Wes Moore expressed his vision at Wednesday’s press conference, stating, “With this agreement, we are making Pimlico the year-round home of thoroughbred racing in the state of Maryland. By consolidating thoroughbred racing at one track, Pimlico will become a reliable hub of economic activity, rather than only being in the spotlight for a few days of the year.”

The makeover plans for Pimlico are ambitious, featuring a smaller 5,000-seat grandstand that will double as a year-round event space for the local community. Other advancements include a cutting-edge sportsbook, a hotel offering picturesque views of the racecourse, and a cavernous 2,000-space parking garage for the venue’s projected increase in visitors.

The vision for the new Pimlico extends beyond racing and embraces a broader community role. The revamp will include a reorientation of the track itself by 30 degrees to accommodate the proposed facilities and create a multi-purpose space able to host open-air festivals and other events.

Funding arrangements for the track include covering operating losses from a lottery proceeds-derived fund with a generous dividend set aside for the local Park Heights community. A full 10% of track profits are to be funneled into local community development projects.

Alan Foreman, president and CEO of the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, hailed the announcement as the dawn of a new era, noting, “[With] the not-for-profit model we are consolidating, reducing expenses, reimagining the future.” In terms of impact, the ripple effect of this visionary agreement promises to resonate far beyond the boundaries of the Pimlico Race Course.