Lookin At Lucky, second from left, ridden by Martin Garcia, wins the Preakness ahead of First Dude, second from right.
The future of the Preakness Stakes, the
second leg of horse racing's Triple Crown, was in doubt Monday
after the state racing commission rejected plans for a much shorter
live racing schedule at Maryland's two tracks.
The commission, which turned down the plan by an 8-0 vote, told
representatives of MI Developments and Penn National Gaming,
partners in operating the Maryland Jockey Club, that its plan for
17 days of live thoroughbred racing at Laurel Park in January
followed by 30 live days at Pimlico Race Course in April and May
was unacceptable. The two venues are currently on track for 146
days of live racing this year.
The lack of an agreement for the future threatens racetrack
employees, all off-track wagering in the state and the future of
the Preakness, a Baltimore tradition that was set for May 21 at
Live racing is scheduled to conclude on Dec. 18 with
simulcasting of out-of-state races continuing through the end of
Commission member Mary Louise Preis expressed concern that a
rejection of the Maryland Jockey Club proposal could threaten the
Preakness Stakes, which generated $79.2 million in wagering handle
this year and has an estimated economic impact of between $40
million and $60 million for Baltimore and the state.
Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association President Richard
Hoffberger, however, said the Preakness alone does not help out
everyday Maryland horsemen.