Shanklin: Is Revitalizing Pimlico a Bad Bet?

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In a recent post on his blog, Horse Racing Business, Bill Shanklin questions whether the planned revitalization of Pimlico Race Course is worth the $100 million that has been allocated to it.

As Shanklin points out, it’s not just the amenities or physical structure that racegoers find objectionable, but the Baltimore neighborhood the track stands in.

One Pimlico review Shanklin found read: “If you enjoy watching horse races while wondering which direction the bullets are going to come from, this place is for you … I have been all over Baltimore and I’ve never been in such fear of being robbed/murdered as when I was at Pimlico. If you value your life, stay far, far away.”

Read more at Horse Racing Business

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  • Laurierace

    I am a white female who stabled and trained at Pimlico for many years. I never felt uncomfortable for one single second of the time I spent there. People treat you the same way you treat them generally. Granted, I wouldn’t necessarily want to live there but living in the immediate area is not a requirement for attending a race track so that is a non issue.

  • Richard C

    Pimlico can be the cornerstone of a neighborhood revitalization project like any arena, stadium and/or ballpark that has brought juicy spark – and bolstered safety – to a “sports” district and surrounding areas. Recall the push over four decades ago for sporting venues to flee urban areas for suburbia (the Richfield Coliseum in northeast Ohio – which made the Cleveland Arena obsolete – is a great example) — which then brought a push years later to bring things back downtown….the property which once was home to The Coliseum is now a park – after Gund Arena (The Q) was built. The neighborhood around Pimlico is gritty and decaying….but there are good people trying to make ends meet each day who will be community leaders in an expansive plan — they just need the power players to invest in win tickets for the area.

    • Red Rider

      Are we talking about the best possible use of monies earmarked for a “new” racing facility about an urban renewal project? For a racetrack that people will possibly want to visit, rebuild elsewhere. For an urban renewal project, tear down Pimlico anyway and use the money for a public housing project.

      • MDbred

        A public housing project? The last thing Baltimore needs are more projects.

  • Michael

    Mr. Shanklin you are full of it. Pimlico is as safe as anywhere a racetrack stands. If you listen to the daily news around Baltimore you will find that Laurel is much more dangerous.

    • randy

      If you read the article, it uses reviews left by Baltimore people who have been to Pimlico. The article is not based on Shanklin’s opinion but customers and former customers. Read the reviews for yourself, which you can find online.

    • Kim24

      So Michael, Pimlico is just as safe as going to Keeneland, Saratoga, Del Mar…etc. Sure.

      • Michael

        It sure is.

  • Kayto

    Perhaps Pimlico’s revitalization might revitalize the neighborhood also. I’m not an urban planner, but revitalizing a community begins within the community.

    • Michael

      The area is
      being revitalized

  • Hossracergp

    I remember shipping in to run at Pimlico and hearing gun shots. I feel fairly certain nobody was hunting pheasants or squirrels in the adjacent row houses. It’s not the greatest neighborhood. I certainly wouldn’t want to go outside the stable gates for a stroll.

  • aceeyes

    I agree, not worth saving ! Repair or replace Laurel and run the Preakness there .

  • Evelyn Waugh

    Get rid of the dump!

    Urban “revitalization” is, empirically speaking, almost always an abject failure (with perhaps Baltimore’s Inner Harbor project, conceived of by James Rouse & hugely supported by the Carter Administration–yes, the Carter Administration).

  • Al

    Just move the Preakness to Laurel and convert Pimlico into a training center.

    • we’re watching

      Ridiculous statement. Get real.

  • mike g rutherford

    Need to start over in new location! Hard to dress up a pig !

    • Red Rider

      Oink. I represent that.

      (Pimlico is my kind of pig sty.)

  • harry

    Very interesting that Stronach is allocating 100 million to revitalize Pimlico. We have heard this same talk from him for 10 years and still nothing has been accomplished. I will believe him when I see wrecking ball working!!! Promises sound good but that’s as far as it has gone in Maryland for years and years just promises and nothing else. Now is the future not 3=5 years from now!!

  • Hoops and Horses

    What should be done with Pimlico is to make it so it is worthy to host The Breeders’ Cup as part of the regular rotation (this would have to include lights as that is going to likely be a requirement of ALL BC hosts, including Santa Anita starting as early as next year). The neighborhood may not be the greatest, but that doesn’t stop 110,000+ from being there on the third Saturday in May for the Preakness and certainly would not stop 80-85,000 from being there for the Breeders’ Cup. People in Maryland and along the I-95 corridor would make a point of being at Pimlico to support a Breeders’ Cup there that likely would be in slightly milder conditions than New York in late October-early November. With BC Ltd. locked into the first weekend in November for the foreseeable future (due to the scheduling of other major races overseas before and after the BC), Pimlico may turn out to be the best site in the east for the BC.

    The infield likely would be able to more than handle what would likely be one of the largest crowds ever for the BC, while unlike a lot of major metro areas, not only do you have Baltimore for hotel space, you also have Washington not that far away, and the two cities combined would be able to handle the people coming in for the BC. Also, many members of Congress and the US Senate probably would want to make the relatively short trip to Baltimore for the BC.

  • we’re watching

    Pimlico is not in a bad neighborhood. Yes, Baltimore in general as in many big cities needs rehabilitation. Much of the society there needs jobs and a revitalization as well and good education. It is asinine to say to move the Preakness to Laurel. Laurel is nice but has no amenities to host a Triple Crown race. None. Pimlico has a great tradition and deserves to be renovated. They’re tearing down Hollywood Park soon, and that is a damn crying shame. Pimlico is in a neighborhood that needs revitalization and the track does as well. Do not ever give up on hope.,

  • Brian

    Grow up and act like men, I was born near Pimlico and I am aware its a tough area, but come on its not that bad and I hope to God they dont moveThe Preakness. It belongs at Pimlico and Baltimore deserves a decent track. Stop whinning like little girls already.

    • harry

      Parking attendants held up in broad daylight and robbed while working at Pimlico in past. Drugs are literally bought and sold in front of entrance to track. Who is kidding who Pimlico is located in a terrible area where even Baltimore’s Finest hesitate to patrol. Businesses robbed and killings in that area on a daily basis. Who is kidding who!! I know first hand I worked their for many many years.

  • 4Bellwether666

    Sink a 100 mill in that hole???…Pimlico should be turned into a training center for Laurel Park…If Frankie gets off the 32 mill deposit Laurel Park has the slots…Run the Preakness at a revamped Laurel Park…Frankie has turned Maryland racing upside down!!!…

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