For decades, Maryland racing’s greatest asset has taken place in its most distressed.

The Grade 1 Preakness Stakes is annually held at Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course, one of America’s greatest races taking place each year in an increasingly threadbare facility whose best days grow smaller and smaller in the rearview mirror.

Which led to the question posed with increasing urgency year after year: What to do about Pimlico? In 2020, the question got an answer.

Or, to be exact, the beginning of an answer.

It wasn’t easy, and it came down to the wire. But in the end, the Maryland General Assembly approved – and Governor Larry Hogan did not veto – legislation expected to keep Pimlico and the Preakness in Baltimore for years to come.

The legislation empowers the Maryland Stadium Authority to issue up to $375 million in bonds that’ll be used to fund the renovation of Pimlico and of Laurel Park. It also specifies how those bonds will be repaid.

Not everyone is happy. The plan under development will almost certainly require the rotation and shortening of the racing strip, meaning the hallowed track on which every Triple Crown winner raced, on which Seabiscuit bested War Admiral, that surface will be no more.

And there are those who love Pimlico, warts and all: the crazy quilt design, the nooks and crannies and what hides behind them, the stunning views from atop the towering grandstand.

But of course, even the most diehard Pimlico supporter admits that the state of affairs that has obtained for years is untenable. Something had to give.

Of course, there’s a long way between today and a new Pimlico. In fact, there’s a long way between today and even knowing exactly what the new Pimlico will look like.

But a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, or so they say. And after years of dithering, Maryland racing at last took the first step to resolving the Pimlico challenge.