March 17, 2009

Should Maryland buy the Preakness?

Maryland should consider buying the Preakness if Magnus Entertainment tries to sell it to an out-of-state racetrack, the state Senate president said Tuesday.

Under state law, Maryland can buy the Preakness, the second leg of thoroughbred horse racing's Triple Crown, by matching the top offer. State Senate President Thomas Miller said that Maryland should also consider building its own track for the horse race, the Baltimore Sun reported.

Miller acknowledged that his proposal is a last-ditch effort but said it is important to keep the biggest annual sporting event in Maryland and to preserve a tradition of thoroughbred breeding and racing.

Those that want to throw history under the bus, in my opinion, ought to be thrown under the bus themselves, Miller said.

Magna Entertainment, which owns nine racecourses in the United States, including Laurel Park and Pimlico in Maryland and Santa Anita in California, filed for bankruptcy this month. All of its tracks are now for sale.

Pimlico in Baltimore dates from 1870. Miller suggests building a new track in Baltimore that would include slot machines.