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Pimlico to lose 6,670 seats for Preakness at aging track

142nd Preakness Stakes

BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 20: Cloud Computing #2 ridden by Javier Castellano (L) beats Classic Empire #5 ridden by Julien Leparoux to win the 142nd running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 20, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

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BALTIMORE -- The northern grandstand at Pimlico Race Course has significantly deteriorated and will be closed for the Preakness in May.

The Stronach Group said Saturday that the northern grandstand adjacent to the clubhouse is the oldest section of seating at 125 years. Its capacity of 6,670 fans is no longer suitable to sustain that level of load bearing weight.

TSG, which owns Pimlico, says the closure will be in effect for the entire Pimlico spring meeting, which includes the Preakness May 18.

That section represents nearly 47% of the approximately 14,000 seats in Pimlico’s clubhouse, main grandstand, old grandstand and sports palace and make up about 17.5% of the overall seated capacity of nearly 38,000 people, according to the track’s website.

An additional 82,000 people are estimated to fit in standing room and infield areas.

A recent Maryland Stadium Authority study found that Pimlico itself had “reached the end of its useful life.”

That prompted the Maryland Jockey Club to hire an independent engineering firm to access the track.

Bill Hecht, in charge of U.S. real estate for TSG, says it’s “deeply disappointing” for the Maryland Jockey Club to have to close that area.

Tickets sold in the affected section for the Preakness can be traded in at face value for similar seating elsewhere.