North end of Pimlico grandstand to be closed for Preakness
As the 144th Preakness Stakes approaches, and in light of the recent Maryland Stadium Authority study that concluded that after more than 100 years, Pimlico Race Course had “reached the end of its useful life,” the Maryland Jockey Club engaged a Baltimore based independent engineering firm, Faisant Associates, to assess the facility to determine how this may impact our guests on Preakness day.
Faisant Associates concluded that there has been significant deterioration to the northern part of the grandstand, the exterior portion of the facility adjacent to the Clubhouse. The northern grandstand is the oldest portion of the structure dating back more than a century, with seating capacity for 6,670 guests, and is no longer suitable to sustain that level of load bearing weight.
As the safety and security of all guests and employees at Pimlico is paramount, the Maryland Jockey Club made the difficult decision to close that section of the grandstand for this year’s Preakness Stakes. The closure is in effect for the full Pimlico meet including the Preakness Stakes and Black Eyed Susan Day.
“It is deeply disappointing for us and the affected ticket-holders that at a peak moment in time when we generate the most amount of income for the industry, for our company and for all stakeholders, and when we are poised to welcome racing fans to Preakness, we have to de-commission 6,670 seats,” said Bill Hecht, CEO, U.S. Real Estate for The Stronach Group, owners of the Maryland Jockey Club. “As the safety and security is paramount to our guests and employees, this position to forego income should in no way be interpreted as anything other than that.”
Ticket-holders who have purchased tickets for that section of the grandstand for this year’s Preakness will be able to trade in their tickets at face value for similar seating. Ticket-holders may exchange their tickets by calling 1-877-206-8042 between now and May 1st.
How convenient for Stronach. If the funds the State provided for maintenance had been used for maintenance of Pimlico in stead of being diverted to Laurel chances are these seats would not have to be condemned. And curious how all these ‘inside deals’ with the Holly Hobby books get revealed against Mayor Pugh who is Baltimore’s staunchest supporter of keeping the Preakness at Pimlico. It isn’t like the book wasn’t needed or wanted and insider deals happen throughout Maryland politics.
As an example the $575,000 contract with a Virginia based construction company for artwork designated for the Maryland House of Representatives awarded by the Governor and two other committee members. This was not even offered to Maryland companies or artists. Then there is the Havre de Grace Arts Committee who raises funds for a sculpture project but when they have the funds available they abandon the project so they can keep the money.
Politics is a dirty game and it is sad that the City of Baltimore and the Maryland Horse Racing Industry have to come out the losers in this dispute. No Pimlico, no Preakness – no Preakness, no Triple Crown.