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Pimlico to be renovated and keep Preakness Stakes after bill passes

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The Preakness Stakes will remain at Pimlico Race Course for the foreseeable future after a bill was passed to redevelop the historic but dilapidated Baltimore, Maryland, racetrack.

The Preakness is the second leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown in the United States, alongside the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes.

The Racing and Community Development Act paves the way for the Maryland Stadium Authority to issue up to $375m in bonds to upgrade Pimlico Race Course and convert it into a year-round multi-purpose venue.

It will also allow for the refurbishment of the nearby Laurel Park. Both race tracks are owned by the Stronach Group, an entertainment and real estate company.

Pimlico, where Seabiscuit and Secretariat both raced to victory, has been home to the Preakness since 1909. In 2019, however, the Stronach Group tried to invoke a state law to move the Preakness out of Baltimore to Laurel Park, causing a bitter legal battle with the city.

The new legislation will keep the Preakness at Pimlico for years to come.

“The legislation paves the way for an enhanced Preakness in Baltimore, the revitalization of year-round racing at Laurel Park and reinvestment in the many communities of interest near and related to the racing industry,” said Belinda Stronach, chairman and president of the Stronach Group.

Added Alan Rifkin, counsel for the Maryland Jockey Club and Preakness Stakes, “This is truly a defining moment in the history of the Maryland thoroughbred racing industry and the state, and we are most appreciative.”

This year’s Preakness, which was scheduled for May 16, has been indefinitely postponed, though a revised date of October 3 has been reported. The Kentucky Derby, meanwhile, has been moved to September. June’s Belmont Stakes has yet to be rescheduled.

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