Buffalo1 asked in SportsHorse Racing · 1 decade ago

Can the state of Maryland legally do this?

"The Maryland Senate has approved emergency legislation to give the state eminent domain authority to keep the Preakness Stakes in Maryland, in hopes the measure will strengthen the state’s hand to avoid losing the race through a federal bankruptcy case." Do you think a judge would allow this to stand?


"If MEC sells Pimlico and Laurel for development, I suspect that what would eventually happen would be that the rights to the Preakness name and conditions would be sold or leased to another track on the eastern seaboard."

I'd just like to make a prediction here; if thats the case, I'm gonna guess that Monmouth Park will make a serious bid to get the race. They did a great job hosting the Breeders Cup recenly, and the Maryland & Jersey racing people have always been on good terms.

Update 2:

Mike - they wouldnt DARE let it be run on a fake surface - would they????

4 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
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    The state is going to have to demonstrate that they have a means of keeping the race in the state. The state can't run a horse race without a track. If Magna sells Pimplico and Laurel to someone who knocks them down to build houses, the Maryland isn't going to be able to run the Preakness. If Maryland takes power of the Preakness, they'll need to buy one of the tracks to keep it running too.

    I do think that the Maryland court will allow this. Maryland stands to lose a lot of income from that single race. The judge won't want to see that money go... and he'll be swayed by the tradition of the Preakness being in the state. The law says that for eminent domain, the state has to be taking it for public use... they can't take from one private person/company to give it to another private person/company. The problem that I see is that they're taking from Magna and giving it to whoever buys and runs Pimlico. Public use means that there has to be some public benefit... the argument is that the people of Maryland will benefit from having a major horse race in their state... it will attract lots of people into the state and a lot will be wagered on the race so the state can collect more in taxes that they will use to benefit everyone. I can't see a Maryland judge saying no to the Maryland legislature on this.

    The thing that's unfortunate about it is that Magna is trying to sell the Preakness to earn money because it's in horrible financial shape... while Maryland will have to provide compensation to Magna for using their eminent domain power to take the race, they're certainly not going to pay as much as another racetrack would actually pay for the race (although Maryland will argue up and down that they're paying fair market value).

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  • 1 decade ago

    I suspect that the big winners in the situation are going to be lawyers. As Kmnmiamisax says, if Maryland exercises a right to eminent domain, they have to have a place to run the race. Where are they going to do that? There's Timonium Racetrack, which hosts a few days of racing in conjunction with the fair they have there. Hardly a place that could handle the quality of horses and the size of crowd that the Preakness draws. Ocean Downs? That's a harness track, it would need major re-working to have Thoroughbreds race over the surface, and it's not built for a crowd the size the Preakness draws. Rosecroft Raceway? That's another harness track. Same problems as Ocean Downs.

    Fair Hill Training Center has a 7/8 mile Tapeta-surfaced track, and they have a one-day meet with steeplechasing, hosting about 15,000 spectators. The track is too small for the Preakness and the facility would be overwhelmed by the crowds.

    If MEC sells Pimlico and Laurel for development, I suspect that what would eventually happen would be that the rights to the Preakness name and conditions would be sold or leased to another track on the eastern seaboard. I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing and it may be the only way to ensure continuity for the Preakness.

    Myself, I think that if Pimlico goes under the developer's bulldozers, it may be time to "stick a knife" in the Preakness and let it go, and offer the Travers Stakes at Saratoga as the third race for a new (and better) Triple Crown.

    I know the mere thought of that will raise a storm of outrage, but I think it makes sense. The Travers has a long and storied history and tradition, and many champions have raced in the Travers Stakes. It's at the classic distance of 1-1/4 miles, which is actually a better distance than the 1-3/16 miles of the Preakness, which has always been an oddball distance. The spacing of the Derby, the Bemont and the Travers is much better for the health and safety of the horses that contest the Triple Crown, because there is more time between races to recover. And if you want to talk tradition, the English Triple Crown consists of the Guineas Stakes in May, the Derby Stakes in June, and the St. Leger Stakes in September. Why shouldn't the American Triple Crown have about the same spacing?

    Times change, things change, and if the Preakness can't be run under first-class conditions with assured continuity, I say let it end gracefully and start a new tradition: The Triple Crown of Derby, Belmont and Travers stakes.

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  • 1 decade ago

    im no lawyer and i dont know the answer to your question but i can say this, they better not move the Preakness Stakes out of Maryland. ive never been to a Preakness Stakes and ive heard that its one hell of a good time. from a tradition standpoint i really hope that the three triple crown races never change. whether its location, distance, horses allowed to enter, surface (a synthetic triple crown would sicken me beyond comprehension) or whatever. tradition is what makes horse racing so great.

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  • 3 years ago

    There are all sorts of regulations for state workers that decision state to state. frequently, you're far safer than operating contained in the provate sector. you ought to communicate with wither a attorney, or an ombudsman for state workers if Maryland has one.

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