If one Pimlico study is good, are two better?
by Frank Vespe
If one Pimlico study is good, two must be even better.
That, at least, seems to be the rationale behind a bill introduced January 25 in the Maryland General Assembly by Delegates Pat McDonough, Robin Grammer, and Rick Impallaria. All three are Republicans whose districts include Baltimore County.
Since the Maryland Stadium Authority’s two-phase study on Pimlico is about to enter its final phase, this bill seems unlikely to add much to the conversation.
The legislation introduced, HB 489, would create a study group to examine the feasibility of building a “supertrack and performance center in Baltimore County.” The bill was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee; at this time there is no Senate companion.
“It would be a great asset to the Baltimore region to retain Pimlico and the Preakness and to provide Baltimore County with an exciting facility for events and promotions,” McDonough said in a statement on Facebook. “Not only would it create jobs, but a new generation would be attracted to the great sport of horseracing and many new family events could be hosted in Baltimore County.”
McDonough is running in 2018 for Baltimore County Executive.
The legislation is mostly focused on the logistics of the study group. It would consist of 16 members, with the Baltimore County Executive as chair. He or she would appoint the other 15 members, which would include four members of the County Council, one member of the county’s Senate delegation, three members of its House delegation, seven members of the general public “who have expertise in architecture, land development, horse racing, or any other related field.”
Pointedly, it does not include anyone connected to the Stronach Group or the Maryland Jockey Club – the company which owns the existing Pimlico Race Course.
That body is charged with studying the desirability of building “a racetrack and multipurpose center in Baltimore County with private funds to replace Pimlico Race Course, to conduct the Preakness Stakes and other horse races, and to serve as a venue for other sporting and entertainment events.”
It is directed to submit a report to various county officials and representatives by November 30, 2018.
While the proposed legislation doesn’t specify much about the track itself, McDonough’s statement goes farther. In it, he calls for the so-called supertrack to be “an indoor race track with a multi-purpose performance arena. It would be the most advanced state-of-the-art horseracing track in the nation.”
McDonough claims to be acting now because “it is time for ideas and action” and to head off the possibility of the Preakness moving to Laurel.
Also in his statement, McDonough repeatedly misspells the name of the Stronach Group Founder and Honorary Chairman as Frank Stronack.