03/20/2009 12:00AM

Angelos pledges Preakness aid to Maryland


Peter G. Angelos, owner of the Baltimore Orioles and a Thoroughbred breeder, said Thursday night that he or his family will aid Maryland if the state's Preakness Stakes is threatened by the bankruptcy of its owner, Magna Entertainment Corp.

Angelos, a Baltimore lawyer, met Thursday with Gov. Martin O'Malley and the state senate's president, Thomas V. Mike Miller, at the state house. They said they discussed concerns that a buyer could move the Preakness out of state and the possibility of Angelos stepping forward as an investor.

"This is not an effort to gain a proprietary interest. I'm just giving my support," Angelos said after the meeting. "On the other hand, if my involvement or my family's involvement in such a proprietary interest is a necessary component of keeping the Preakness in Maryland, that's also available."

The fate of the Preakness, the second leg of the Triple Crown, has become a source of concern in Annapolis since Magna filed for bankruptcy on March 5. Magna also owns Laurel Park in Maryland.

Maryland law gives the state the first option to buy the Preakness if it is offered for sale. In such a case, the state would have to match any accepted offer.

Miller, a longtime supporter of the racing industry, said the group also discussed the potential pitfalls and complications of Magna's situation during the meeting. He cautioned that talks are in preliminary stages.

"It's mired in bankruptcy, and there are bankruptcy lawyers everywhere," Miller said. "It's in total flux."

Miller suggested earlier in the week that the state consider building a Thoroughbred track and running the race. Maryland is currently facing a $2 billion budget deficit.