Plenty of mixed emotions
All hail the deal that just might keep the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore forever Horsemen’s support for Maryland racetracks plan isn’t quite unanimous
The deal that has been struck to keep the Preakness in Baltimore in perpetuity still has a few furlongs to go before it crosses the finish line, but the prospect of a new facility at Pimlico and a new era for racing in Maryland is almost too good to be true.
Imagine going to a sparkling new clubhouse and actually having the restrooms in full operation … or the electricity remaining uninterrupted in every corner of the racetrack on Preakness weekend. No ugly plywood patches on the outer façade. No reason for NBC Sports to carefully calibrate the national broadcast to hide all the other warts that have turned the building into a civic embarrassment.
“This is an historic and transformative plan. And the funding lives entirely within funds al
Willie Kee could not bring himself to join the chorus of acclaim for a new plan to rebuild Maryland’s aged racetracks. Instead, the 60-year-old horse trainer thought about traffic, specifically the daily drive he might have to make from Pikesville to Laurel if the plan passes muster in the General Assembly.
“Have you been on the Beltway in the morning?” he said in a weary tone.
Though the plan — forged by Baltimore and racing industry leaders, and released Saturday — would secure the future of the Preakness at Pimlico Race Course and create a consolidated training center at Laurel Park, it did not inspire unanimous praise among Maryland horsemen. Some of those who train horses at Pimlico year-round feel vexed by the prospect of a forced move to Laurel.
“We’re still going to have to get out and move to Laurel,” said Kee, who’s based his operation at Pimlico since 2001. “You ask anybody here and it’s the same deal as it was before. We’ve all got to get out of here.”
If the plan receives approval from the