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Senate Passes Funds For Redeveloping Pimlico, Laurel Park Race Tracks

MD GovPics/Jay Baker

Lawmakers couldn’t agree last year on how to keep the Preakness Stakes horse race from leaving Pimlico Race Course in Northwest Baltimore. But on Friday, the state Senate approved a new plan nearly unanimously and without debate.

“What a difference a year makes,” Senate President Bill Ferguson quipped after the vote.

The bill authorizes $330 million in state bonds to fund the redevelopment of Pimlico and of Laurel Park racetrack in Anne Arundel County. The bill also ensures that the Preakness Stakes continues to take place each spring at Pimlico.

Sen. Jill Carter, whose district includes Pimlico, praised the new plan.

“I was always in fear that if somehow Preakness left Pimlico, the state would no longer have a motivation to invest in that area,” she said. “But as long as we’ve got the Preakness and we’ve got Pimlico, it’s the carrot we need to get investment that’s going to benefit the community.”

Developers plan to raze existing structures at Pimlico and turn it into a multi-use facility. It would host horse racing around the Preakness. The rest of the year, it would host youth sports leagues and other community events.

The bill still needs to be approved in the House of Delegates before it can head to Gov. Larry Hogan.

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