April 14, 2009

Maryland works to keep Preakness

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley signed emergency legislation that will help the state keep the Preakness Stakes, the middle leg of the Triple Crown, in Baltimore.

The measure enacted Tuesday gives Maryland officials the right to buy or exercise eminent domain over properties owned by the Maryland Jockey Club, including the Pimlico Race Course where the Preakness is run. Two other horse facilities are included but so are rights and racing events associated with the Preakness, including the race's Woodlawn Vase trophy.

Maryland's horse industry not only generates tens of thousands of jobs, O'Malley said in a statement when the bill was introduced, and produces a substantial economic impact for our State, but our centuries-old heritage of horse racing and horse breeding is woven deeply into the cultural fabric of Maryland.

The Maryland General Assembly fast-tracked the Preakness measure in light of the bankruptcy filing by track owner Magna Entertainment Corp. All of the company's assets are for sale during reorganization.

The year's Preakness Stakes, the 134th since the race was first run in 1873, is scheduled for May 16.