Phase 2 of a study by the Maryland Stadium Authority has concluded it will cost $424 million to rebuild Pimlico Race Course in order to keep the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore.
The study, released on Thursday, did not spell out where the money to rebuild the aging racetrack would come from, although Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh told the Baltimore Sun, “We know this is going to require public-private partnerships, including the state.”
The Stronach Group, which owns Pimlico and Laurel Park, has been investing millions of dollars to upgrade the latter racecourse, located in Laurel, Md., midway between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Company officials have been adamant that it makes no sense for them to spend significant funds for capital improvements at Laurel and rebuild Pimlico at the same time. Unless public funding becomes available, Stronach Group officials have said, their eventual plans will be to move the Triple Crown's middle jewel to Laurel, where they also hope to host a Breeders' Cup in the near future.
“The Stronach Group would like to thank the Maryland Stadium Authority for its thorough and extensive job of understanding and responding to the challenges of the aging Pimlico Race Course,” Belinda Stronach, chairman and president of The Stronach Group, said in a statement. “The final conclusions of the MSA report are in line with our assessment that in order to bring the facility up to par, it will require several hundreds of millions of dollars.
“The Stronach Group is investing heavily in racing and we are committed to the long-term sustainability of the Thoroughbred racing industry and to the communities in which we operate in Maryland,” she said. “The MSA study began three years ago and from the outset we have expressed the need to address Pimlico, and by extension the Preakness Stakes, within the context of the broader racing ecosystem. A successful and viable future for Maryland racing requires an industry encompassing and thoughtful capital plan that looks beyond one weekend of celebration to achieving great success year-round. We reiterate the need for action.
“We ask State and local leaders, working together with all segments of the racing industry, to tackle during the upcoming legislative session the important questions surrounding not only the financial requirements for a modern stadium that can host the Preakness Stakes but how to best support the needs of the Thoroughbred industry as a whole, sustainable year-round horse racing and training, an enhanced guest experience and greater fan engagement in Maryland.”
The proposed rebuild calls for non-racing development on portions of the Pimlico property, including housing and commercial businesses. The study estimates a cost of $252.2 million to rebuild the track's main facility, $120.5 million for improvements to the infrastructure, $29.6 million for the infield and new racing surfaces and $21.6 million to demolish and remove the existing buildings.
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