The state of Maryland officially acquired the site of historic Pimlico Race Course on Monday, a key step in the plan to eventually redevelop the home of the Preakness Stakes and make it the year-round location of thoroughbred racing in the state.

Racing, training and simulcast wagering at the track will cease on Sept. 1. By that date the horses stabled at Pimlico and the backstretch workers living on site — the grooms, hot walkers and other staffers who care for the horses — will have relocated to Laurel Park.

“This is a great day for Maryland. The transfer of the track will keep horse racing at Pimlico for generations and will deliver economic prosperity to the Park Heights community and the City of Baltimore,” Gov. Wes Moore said in a statement. “The Preakness is an event deeply embedded into our state’s fabric and provides one day a year, every year, where all eyes are on Baltimore. Now, the legacy of the Preakness is safely in public hands. Pimlico will become the home of Thoroughbred racing in Maryland, making it a year-round hub of economic activity.”

Katy Voss, president of the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, a group representing local trainers and owners, said there were enough empty stalls at Laurel for the number of horses transferring from Pimlico.

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There’s believed to be enough housing for the backstretch workers, Voss said, but should the need arise for more rooms, the MTHA and Maryland Jockey Club would share the cost of getting hotel reservations.

“Nobody’s going to be homeless,” she said.

Greg Cross, chair of the Maryland Thoroughbred Racetrack Operating Authority, said there were no changes to the framework of the deal between the state and The Stronach Group, which owns the Maryland Jockey Club, in the lead-up to the transfer of the track.

Under a plan created by the authority known as “Pimlico Plus,” the state took control of Pimlico for $1 and will use bond funding to raze the dilapidated facility and build a smaller, modern grandstand and a new racing surface. A separate training center will also be constructed at a to-be-determined location to provide additional stalls and a separate training track.

The deal includes $10 million worth of housing and community development money for the Park Heights neighborhood, which borders Pimlico but has not always had the best relationship with the racetrack and its marquee event.

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“As much as Pimlico itself matters, our administration has made it clear that we aren’t just focused on closing a deal – we’re focused on driving economic development in all of our communities,” Moore said.

In an email to constituents noting the transfer of the track to the state, Del. Sandy Rosenberg, a Democrat whose district includes Pimlico, wrote that monthly meetings are being held with residents and state officials to think about how best to use it.

Starting Jan. 1, 2025, a new state-run nonprofit will run day-to-day operations of horse racing in Maryland. Preakness will run at Pimlico on the third Saturday in May, the 150th edition of the second leg of the Triple Crown, and move to Laurel until work is complete, which is expected to be 2027.

The Stronach Group will continue to hold the rights to run the Preakness and lease them to the state for an annual $3 million fee plus 2% of the gross betting handle for the weekend.

According to a timeline republished by the MTHA, the Maryland Stadium Authority will begin site work and demolition at Pimlico this fall. But Cross said he did not expect anything to be razed until the start of 2025.

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While there is some concern among trainers that things will be tight at Laurel Park while the new Pimlico is being developed, Voss said it is a “necessary evil” to finally land a modern facility for the racing industry.

And there’s hope with the nonprofit model that money will be put back into horse racing and all its ancillary parts.

“There isn’t some private ownership that needs a return on their investment,” she said. “The return to the state here is to support agriculture, the horse industry, open spaces, everything that goes along with that — jobs. That’s the dividend by getting racing financially sound.”

On Wednesday, the Maryland Jockey Club announced a Fan Appreciation Day at Pimlico on Sunday, Aug. 18 from noon to 3:30 p.m. Attendees will receive a complimentary Preakness glass and their choice of merchandise from the race while supplies last.