Keeping the Preakness in Baltimore

Maryland Jockey Club And Baltimore City Chamber of Commerce Officials Meet To Discuss Keeping The Preakness In Baltimore

A meeting with the Maryland Jockey Club was requested by the Chamber to discuss keeping the Preakness in Baltimore and to determine whether there is sufficient common interest between the Club and the Chamber to work together on the matter.

The meeting was held on October 28, 2015 at the Club Headquarters at Laurel Park in Laurel, MD. Club attendees were Sal Sinatra, President, and Tim Ritvo, Chief Operating Officer, Racing Division. Chamber attendees were Hal Resnick, Board Chair and Chris Costello, Chamber lobbyist.

The Chamber interest in retaining the Preakness in Baltimore is that the event substantially contributes to both the economy and the image of City. The Chamber can become an advocate to encourage City and State support for the modernization of Pimlico, creating a venue for non-racing events such as concerts and holiday celebrations. In turn, a modernized Pimlico will be a catalyst for rebirth of the surrounding Park Heights neighborhood, by fostering the development of jobs, housing, and business.

The Club would like to stay at Pimlico and keep the Preakness there, if certain serious issues can be resolved. The current physical condition of the facility restricts revenue generation—revenue needed to support Pimlico operation throughout the rest of the year—because “premium” seating is not available; the top ticket price at Pimlico is about $750, while tracks like Churchill Downs can sell tickets in the $5,000 range. The low ticket price also restricts the attraction of other significant races—like the Breeder’s Cup—that will enhance the economy and image of the City.

Following the Preakness in May 2016, the Club will host a joint Club/Chamber event at Pimlico’s Turf Club. City and State officials as well as business leaders will be invited. The Club will prepare a presentation of the concept and other factors necessary and sufficient for the modernization of Pimlico.