BALTIMORE—Preakness Day is a Baltimore staple, and if Maryland Jockey Club President Sal Sinatra has his way, that will continue.
The Maryland Stadium Authority will soon begin an extensive study of Pimlico’s future, and that may not be done for 18 months.
Sinatra is in his second year running the MJC, and last year, there was talk about moving the Preakness to Laurel. Taking the Preakness out of Baltimore would be difficult politically.
“We were trying to straighten out a sinking ship, if you will. We were just looking for ways to get us back into the black,” Sinatra said.
“In our mind, one place is better, but once you come here and lived through one Preakness, you feel it. You feel the history. You feel the energy. You see what the kids are doing out there, and you’re going to try every which way to keep it here.”
With bathrooms malfunctioning because of a water main break in the neighborhood, Sinatra is doing his best to keep Old Hilltop in working order.
“Just trying to pretty up the old mare. That’s all we’re thinking about.” Sinatra said.
The current structure is probably unsalvageable, Sinatra said. He’ll have to wait until the MSA’s study is complete.
“It looks like it’s going to have to be a total rebuild, which means temporarily we’ll have to be at Laurel. We’re probably talking a two-year period,” Sinatra said.
There’s one good problem, Sinatra says. The demand for corporate tents has outstripped available space, and he doesn’t want to use infield space for more tents. With a rebuilt Pimlico, there could be more room in the infield.