04/15/2012 12:26PM

Pimlico wants to add Arabian stakes to Preakness program

Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography
TM Texas Fred won last year's President of the United Arab Emirates Cup when the race was worth $50,000 and was the first race for Arabians ever contested at Churchill Downs.

Pimlico plans to run a Grade 1 race for Arabian horses on its Preakness Day card on May 19.

As part of its 14-race program that is highlighted by the $1 million Preakness, Pimlico would like to add the $75,000 President of the United Arab Emirates Cup, a 1 1/16 mile race on the main track.

The Arabian race is on the agenda and will be voted upon by the Maryland Racing Commission at its monthly meeting on Tuesday. The Maryland House Ways and Means committee passed an emergency bill during the General Assembly, which was signed into law by Governor Martin O’Malley on April 10, authorizing Pimlico to conduct live racing of Arabian horses under certain circumstances.

If approved, Pimlico would be co-host of the race with Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates.

“Adding the top Arabian race to what is already a first-class series of races will enhance the value of the day,” Pimlico president Tom Chuckas said. “We are pleased to partner with the UAE for this historic event and look forward to future opportunities.”

The President of the UAE Cup Series was established more than 20 years ago to promote and celebrate the Arabian breed internationally. It was the first international racing series for Arabian horses and continues to be considered as the world’s premier racing series for the breed. Last year’s running of President of the United Arab Emirates Cup was worth $50,000 and was held at Churchill Downs in mid-June, as part of the Stephen Foster card.