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Sine Die: After 144 years, is this the beginning of the end for the Preakness in Baltimore?

Posted at 7:27 AM, Apr 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-08 15:43:47-04

BALTIMORE (WMAR) — Sine die is the final day of the 439th session of Maryland’s General Assembly.

It's still a busy day for lawmakers who have a midnight deadline to get legislation passed.

One of the key issues still being discussed is whether the Preakness Stakes will stay in Baltimore.

After 144 years, is this the beginning of the end for the Preakness at Pimlico?

One of the many bills being considered is one that would let the owner of the race and the track itself use state bonds to improve their other track in Laurel and a new facility in Bowie.

Saturday, the Baltimore house delegation voted unanimously to oppose that bill.

RELATED: Baltimore lawmakers oppose bill due to Preakness concerns

The hope is that strong voting will send a message to the rest of the House on the last day of the 2019 session. It is unclear what the governor would do if this should pass the house and senate today.

The City of Baltimore has filed suit against The Stronach Group, the company that owns the Preakness and operators the state's horse racing facilities, claiming economic concerns if the race should eventually move from PImlico to Laurel.

READ MORE: City of Baltimore sues owners of Pimlico and the Preakness

There is also a Maryland Stadium Authority study released earlier this year calling for more than $400-million in renovations for Pimlico. The plan would create a brand-new track and grandstand as well as a year-round facility for the community of Park Heights.

There’s still uncertainty about how that is funded and the owners of Pimlico said this track is past its useful life.

"We'll have an assurance that the Preakness will always be in Baltimore City, which is what we're after. It was born here. It was raised here. It was nurtured here. It's grown here. There's no Triple Crown without the Preakness, and there's no Preakness without the Preakness in Baltimore City." said Baltimore City solicitor Andre Davis.

Meanwhile, the Stronach Group has committed to running the Preakness here at Pimlico through at least next year.

The 144th running of the Preakness stakes is scheduled for May 18, 2019.