05/16/2015 4:38PM

Preakness could move to Sunday at Laurel


BALTIMORE – Sal Sinatra, general manager of the Maryland Jockey Club, said at a Saturday afternoon press conference that he would like to see Preakness weekend expanded from a two-day event to a three-day weekend of racing.

"We had a good day Friday on Black-Eyed Susan Day with $18 million in handle," Sinatra said. "But we would have done better if those races were held on a weekend day."

If the Preakness festival was expanded to a third day, the Preakness could conceivably be run on Sunday, the final day of the festival, according to Sinatra.

Sinatra said no final decision has been made on what to do with the aging Pimlico facility but that because of its condition, it would be difficult for the Maryland Jockey Club to add luxury suites, which would help maximize revenue from the Preakness.

If the decision were made to close the aging Pimlico facility and consolidate racing operations, the Preakness could be moved to Laurel Park.

Sinatra did say Laurel Park was a pretty "useful building" and that Laurel has "much more acreage than Pimlico," which could be used to accommodate more horses and any entertainment venues that may be part of the long-term master plan for Maryland racing that Sinatra and Tim Ritvo, chief operating officer of the Stronach Group, have been working on for the past six months.

Laurel also has an old train station that could be possibly be put back in working condition, according to Sinatra.

Sinatra said the details of the master plan could be released in June after the Pimlico meet concludes.

"Frank wants to do something special in Maryland, just like he did in Florida," Sinatra said, referring to Frank Stronach, chairman of the Stronach Group. "The direction of Maryland racing needs a focus."

In Florida, Stronach incorporated retail and entertainment venues into the Gulfstream Park infrastructure.

Laurel is centrally located between Baltimore, Washington D.C., and Annaplois, Md.

Any attempt to move the Preakness from Pimlico or to close one of the Baltimore tracks would be certain to face political opposition on a number of levels.

** The final horses were relocated from the Bowie training center last week. Sinatra said the closing of Bowie will save the Maryland Jockey club about $1.5 million a year. Sinatra said the MJC is currently losing between $3 million and $5 million a year.

No final decision has been made as to what to do with Bowie, according to Sinatra.

Chas More than 1 year ago
If they move the races to Sat. and Sunday to create a 3-day racing festival as Sinatra is talking about, then what are they going to run on Friday? They are short on graded stake races as it is..if they did $18 million on Friday with the Black Eye Susan and Pimilco Specail anchoring, then they will be hard press to get even $10 million on a revised Friday card under a 3-day racing....there are already to many races on these days as it is... Another Frank Stronach idea and we have all seen on they turn out for the fans and horsemen...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The man is a fool. Does he know how many people park in the parking lots of church's within a 1 miles radius?
Tony Zag More than 1 year ago
Stupid, Stupid, Stupid......Everyone knew the storm was coming. No one formed a contingency plan to run the Preakness earlier to avoid it? How stupid! We put people on the Moon 48 years ago, but cannot form a contingency plan to avoid rain, thunder and lightening? Deliberately, make jockeys and horses run in that mess....for what reason, Maryland My Maryland ? Sinatra, and Stronach both of you deserve to be put into the Hall of Fame.....?
Justin McElhaney More than 1 year ago
This is what happens when u allow foreign companies to control American tradition....the preakness started in 1873 at pimlico and moved to New York in 1890 then returned to pimlico in 1909 where it has remained since..the Stonarch group was founded by a Canadian in 1999 and only cares about profits..there is a reason a country like Canada has nothing because they have no since of tradition..they only honor something if it has monetary value...
Barry Irwin More than 1 year ago
Run the Preakness at a normal hour, don't pander to TV and the race is completely different. Thuderstorm chances increase as the day wears on in the East and Pimlico tempted the fates and lost, because this was not a satisfying race because of the rain.
r More than 1 year ago
tell k Peck to retire. he's awful.
Bob More than 1 year ago
Eenie meenie miney moe ? What do you mean they don't know that when it's before the race? Ha ha ha who does
Randy Baker More than 1 year ago
Don't rely solely on public handicappers.EVER!Blind, leaders of the blind.