Pimlico, Ujjayi, and more: The week in social media
by Chelsea Lowman
During the past week, social media has been lighting up with hot topics ranging from the future of a historical venue, big plans for a Pennsylvania-bred, and the anticipation of a regally-bred foal.
Here’s the excitement – and drama – that the Midlantic region has been talking about:
Tempers flare over the fate of Pimlico
Drama surrounding the future of Pimlico Racecourse spread through social media when it became known that the mayor of Baltimore was at odds with the Stronach Group over their possible plans for the facility. Mayor Catherine Pugh issued a letter to Maryland’s governor and state legislative leaders, taking a stand against the Stronach Group proposal to shut down Pimlico in order to create a single “super track” at Laurel Park, which would eventually host the Preakness Stakes, and to use Bowie Race Track as a training facility.
“Certainly, before throwing away the racing tradition of the Preakness Stakes, the annual ‘Super Bowl’ of Baltimore city, and a generator of significant revenue for Maryland, [The Stronach Group] should be required to demonstrate that they have the bandwidth to create their recently announced ‘super track,’” Pugh stated in her letter.
Tim Ritvo, the COO of the Stronach Group, argued that it would cost an estimated $400 million to rebuild Pimlico Racecourse, whereas the total investment of turning to Laurel Park and Bowie as the solution would likely come to a much more obtainable total of $120 million.
While a final decision on the fate of Pimlico has not yet been made, Ritvo did say in an interview with the Baltimore Sun that while the Stronach Group is in favor of one day moving the Preakness to Laurel Park, it remains open to the idea of rebuilding Pimlico through taxpayer’s funds.
While some people find the idea of moving the Preakness Stakes to Laurel Park appealing, others wish to see the historic track of “Old Hilltop” live on.
Ujjayi to join Oaks trail
Pennsylvania-bred Ujjayi will get the chance to embark on the road to the Kentucky Oaks, as it was announced that she will be making her next start in the $250,000 Busher Stakes on March 9 at Aqueduct. This one-mile qualifying race will offer points of 50-20-10-5 to the top four finishers, and will likely secure the winner a spot in the starting gate on the first Friday in May.
A winner of two races from four starts, Ujjayi has never been worse than second in her career. After breaking her maiden at Laurel Park at first asking, this bay daughter of Smarty Jones went on to finish second in both the Blue Mountain Juvenile Fillies Stakes and Gin Talking Stakes, before going on to claim victory in her most recent start, the Ruthless Stakes.
Trained by Erin C. McClellan and ridden by Tyler Conner, Ujjayi is bred and owned by T.L. Wise.
An American Pharoah foal in the Keystone State
Anticipation is in the air at Walnut Green farm in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, and their excitement is being shared around the internet. The first known Pennsylvania-bred foal by 2015 Triple Crown champion American Pharoah is due to arrive at the farm any day now, and Walnut Green is inviting the world to follow the story.
Walnut Green farm has set up a live webcam allowing fans to join in and experience the birth of their American Pharoah foal. The dam of the foal is the Tiznow mare High Quail. A winner of three races and earner of $157,143 on the track, High Quail is graded stakes-placed by virtue of her runner-up effort in the Falls City Handicap (Gr.2), back in 2010.
As for this foal’s sire, American Pharoah was the one who came along to end the historic Triple Crown drought that lasted for 37 years. He closed out his career by romping in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (Gr.1), becoming the first, and so far only, Grand Slam winner of thoroughbred racing. With nine wins from 11 starts and career earnings over $8 million, American Pharoah has caused a stir in the breeding world — and will get a big chance to be the next big thing.