Pimlico, WVBC, Joe Kelly Unsung Hero: The week in social media
Photo at Pimlico courtesy of Maryland Jockey Club.
The Joe Kelly Unsung Hero Award winner was chosen, there are big plans for the future of Pimlico Race Course, and the West Virginia Breeders’ Classic is set to take place this weekend.
Here is the 411 on what racing fans in the Mid-Atlantic region have been talking about on social media this week:
Singing the Unsung Hero
Heather Cellinesi’s name has been making its rounds throughout social media over the past week, as it was announced that she has been chosen as the recipient of the 2019 Joe Kelly Maryland Million Unsung Hero Award.
Named in honor of Joe Kelly, the Maryland Million Unsung Hero Award was created to honor those who display the upmost level of courage, integrity, hard work, and dignity within the sport. In 2019, there is no question that Heather Cellinesi lived up to those attributes when she brazenly took on a barn fire at Anchor & Hope Farm, and single-handedly rescued 18 horses.
The fire struck the main barn at Anchor & Hope Farm on August 12 and raged through the building until the structure was destroyed. But thanks to the courage and quick thinking of Cellinesi, who dauntlessly ran into the burning barn to free the horses from their stalls, no lives were lost during the terrifying ordeal. The story of Cellinesi’s heroism first appeared in The Racing Biz.
Making a new Old Hilltop
News concerning where to run the Preakness Stakes broke when it was declared that plans have been made for the historical Triple Crown race to remain at Pimlico. After many months of negotiating among the Stronach Group, the Maryland Jockey Club, the City of Baltimore, and Maryland’s Thoroughbred horsemen, an agreement was reached. The groups came together, sending a joint letter with their idea to Gov. Larry Hogan (R), state Senate President Mike Miller (D-Prince George’s), and House Speaker Del. Adrienne Jones (D-Baltimore County) claiming that they have “ a newfound spirit of cooperation and purpose to explore possible ways and means to preserve the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico, to support year-round sustainable racing at Laurel Park and to facilitate community development in and around the racing facilities.”
Should the plan become reality, Maryland racing will see the Preakness Stakes remain at Pimlico, which will be razed and rebuilt. There will also be a new clubhouse and community events center that will aid in the redevelopment that will be taking place in order to preserve the location of the legendary race.
While the biggest race of the year for Maryland will remain at “Old Hilltop” should this plan fall into place, the rest of the focus on Maryland racing for the year will take place solely at Laurel Park, which will also serve as the state’s main training facility and itself will undergo substantial alteration. The plan has significant support from industry insiders.
The funding mechanisms for the nearly-$400 million plan will require action by the state Legislature, whose session is slated to begin in January of 2020.
A big night of racing will be taking place at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races this Saturday, as the 33rd annual West Virginia Breeders’ Classic will be taking place. Post positions were drawn for the 1 1/8-mile event earlier in the week, attracting a field of 10 West Virginia-breds.
The contenders for the West Virginia Breeders’ Classic include What a Story, North Atlantic, Castle Bound, Jeffery Scott, Captain Charitable, defending champion and 6/5 morning line favorite Runnin ‘toluvya, Owen’s Way, Awesome Faith, Opera Nite, and Buff’s Eye View. Runnin’toluvya is the defending champ.
Post time for the $300,000 classic is set for 10:32 p.m. EST.
Along with the West Virginia Breeders’ Classic, there will also be eight other stakes races restricted for West Virginia-breds at Charles Town this Saturday. First post for the night of state-bred action is set for 7:00 p.m. EST.
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