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O'Malley to Submit Preakness Legislation

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) is preparing to introduce late-session legislation that would give the state additional legal tools to keep the Preakness Stakes in Maryland, his office confirmed today.

The issue has emerged following Magna Entertainment's decision to seek bankruptcy protection last month and sell many of its assets, including Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, the home of the Preakness, and Laurel Park in Anne Arundel County.

The Preakness, the second jewel in horse racing's Triple Crown, is among Maryland's major sporting events.

The state government has a statutory right of first purchase of the race if it comes up for sale. The legislation may provide the means to finance such a sale and also address potential condemnation proceedings at the tracks, according to people familiar with what is being discussed.

O'Malley spokesman Shaun Adamec confirmed legislation is in the works but would not discuss its timing or precise contents.

"Governor O'Malley has worked with the leaders of the General Assembly to ensure that Maryland's rich history of horse racing - begun with the first running of the Preakness in 1873 - remains in the State," Adamec said."This includes legislation that will expand the tools available to the state to keep the Preakness in Maryland. ... It is the Governor's firm belief that Maryland would not be Maryland without the Preakness."

By Anne Bartlett  |  April 7, 2009; 4:49 PM ET
Categories:  General Assembly , John Wagner  
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