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Old 07-04-2016, 09:54 PM   #1
pele polo
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Pimlico vs Laurel

Got back to Laurel today for the first time in five years, also the first time since the "renovations".

I have to say I was left wanting a little more.

Not sure where all this money is going. They have plenty of brand new tv screens and a nice simulcast set up downstairs in both the grandstand and clubhouse but I'm afraid that's all people are referring to when they are mentioning the upgrades.

The entire upstairs seating is a ghost town and the old clubhouse dining is shutdown, without any progress of construction.

The exterior of the building looks the same as it did 20 years ago I'm sure.

People are calling for this place to hold a Breeders' Cup. They're so far from that its unimaginable not including parking and lodging.

I will say the overall product of Maryland racing is much better off than five years ago but I'm not seeing much difference between Pimlico and Laurel tracks or neighborhoods. I actually prefer pimlico for actual live racing. Really hope they don't make the mistake of getting rid of the Baltimore track on the strength of Laurel. I think people forget Laurel isn't far from Pimlico in age.

I say keep both tracks but let's see some more progress with this tens of millions supposedly earmarked for capital improvements and use it to show Pimlico some love as well.
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Old 07-05-2016, 04:02 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pele polo
Got back to Laurel today for the first time in five years, also the first time since the "renovations".

I have to say I was left wanting a little more.

Not sure where all this money is going. They have plenty of brand new tv screens and a nice simulcast set up downstairs in both the grandstand and clubhouse but I'm afraid that's all people are referring to when they are mentioning the upgrades.

The entire upstairs seating is a ghost town and the old clubhouse dining is shutdown, without any progress of construction.

The exterior of the building looks the same as it did 20 years ago I'm sure.

People are calling for this place to hold a Breeders' Cup. They're so far from that its unimaginable not including parking and lodging.

I will say the overall product of Maryland racing is much better off than five years ago but I'm not seeing much difference between Pimlico and Laurel tracks or neighborhoods. I actually prefer pimlico for actual live racing. Really hope they don't make the mistake of getting rid of the Baltimore track on the strength of Laurel. I think people forget Laurel isn't far from Pimlico in age.

I say keep both tracks but let's see some more progress with this tens of millions supposedly earmarked for capital improvements and use it to show Pimlico some love as well.
1. I have been to both tracks. I love Laurel. I think its setting has a natural beauty that Pimlico (an urban racetrack) lacks.

2. I agree the "renovations" at Laurel are nothing special.

3. I also agree that Laurel is nowhere near hosting a Breeders' Cup. It would need a complete remodel a la Arlington in the late 1980's.

4. But I do think Laurel is the future of Maryland racing. There's basically nothing that can be done with Pimlico. It is boxed in. It is expensive to operate. It only makes money two days a year. It's in a bad location.

If they did want to spend the money, it is possible to make Laurel into a really great track, one that could host the Preakness as well as the Breeders' Cup. There's no hope for Pimlico at all.
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Old 07-05-2016, 07:44 PM   #3
Robert Fischer
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I agree with what you wrote, and this is more of a minor issue than a major issue, but I have to disagree with the neighborhoods part.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pele polo
I'm not seeing much difference between Pimlico and Laurel tracks or neighborhoods.
lots of Pimlico neighborhood stories to go around

my most recent = I was Ubering(driving) from the Preakness for the $40/trip guarantees, and after a baffling move by local police to shut down a main drag, (and as a result have heavy traffic flow through a local neighborhood), I found my car surrounded by a gang of teens who began beating on it. Initially I thought a brick had hit my driver's-side window behind my head. I escaped with my life and avoided running them over, up an alley and down a 1-way street...

I'm not anti-pimlico, but the neighborhoods and location in general(traffic situation/restaurants/hotels) is certainly worse than Laurel.
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Old 07-05-2016, 08:10 PM   #4
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Laurels first floor grandstand and clubhouse are nice for the player who enjoys betting multiple tracks via simulcast but probably not watching the race live.
The second floor however is antiquated with box seats with no working TV's (this is where I prefer to watch the races). The next phase of the renovations was supposed to be on the second floor. I haven't been to laurel since late april, so I don't know if any progress has been made. There have been major improvements on the backside with 2, soon to be 3 new barns housing 150 horses each, similar to the new barns at gulfstream. The ultimate goal is to have all horses stabled at pimlico move to laurel. I saw somewhere that it cost $250,000 a month to keep pimlico open for training all year.

As far as pimlico goes, Baltimore isn't giving up the Preakness. I think you will see a total tear down and one maybe 2 short keenland like meets with a detention barn only to handle ship in horses only. I'd anticipate the state/city would have to help with costs. Just my 2 cents.

And oh yeh, I prefer watching live races in the pimlico grandstand boxes. They actually got all new flat screen TV's for this past meet that all work!! But much like laurel's second floor...a ghost town.

Nice to get some MD racing talk. Its been steadily improving with lots of turf racing.
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Old 07-05-2016, 10:12 PM   #5
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Since someone mentioned it, I should mention that Maryland's various legal theories for forcing Stronach to hold the Preakness in Maryland are highly dubious. There's really no precedent for allowing a government to use eminent domain to appropriate a trademark, and substantial free speech arguments for allowing a trademark owner to use the label as it wishes. Moreover even if Maryland could keep the trademark, they couldn't stop Stronach from running a 9 1/2 furlong race on the third Saturday in May which fulfilled contractual obligations to Churchill and NYRA.

In short, Stronach, not Maryland, almost can run it where he wishes to. Maryland's threats are a bluff.
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Old 07-06-2016, 12:05 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dilanesp
Since someone mentioned it, I should mention that Maryland's various legal theories for forcing Stronach to hold the Preakness in Maryland are highly dubious. There's really no precedent for allowing a government to use eminent domain to appropriate a trademark, and substantial free speech arguments for allowing a trademark owner to use the label as it wishes. Moreover even if Maryland could keep the trademark, they couldn't stop Stronach from running a 9 1/2 furlong race on the third Saturday in May which fulfilled contractual obligations to Churchill and NYRA.

In short, Stronach, not Maryland, almost can run it where he wishes to. Maryland's threats are a bluff.
This is 100% true.

The Stronarch Group has insisted for years there is NO WAY to RENOVATE Pimlico. It would have to be torn down. Then you're totally landlocked in redevelopment. What Stronarch has shown at Gulfstream and Santa Anita is they want mix use. Laurel gives them that option.

I think the Preakness moving to Laurel is inevitable. They'll have to do a ton of renovations but it still a lot easier than rebuilding Pimlico.

Pimlico is really in a tough spot. Even if Stronarch rebuilds it which they won't because they've refused to do it you'd still need to run the race somewhere temporarily . Your only two options are Laurel or Belmont. Belmont actually hosted the Preakness during World War II. Stronarch obviously would prefer it at Laurel a track they own.

The wildcard is Gulfstream. They could run it there.

But I'd say there's a strong possibility the 2026 Preakness isn't at Pimlico.
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Old 07-06-2016, 12:11 AM   #7
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I understand that the facilities are old and the surrounding neighborhood is rough, but I don't get all this talk of the grounds itself needing to be expanded.

For what? How much bigger does the place need to be?
Are there not enough stalls on the backside?
Not enough parking?
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Old 07-06-2016, 12:30 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by PhantomOnTour
I understand that the facilities are old and the surrounding neighborhood is rough, but I don't get all this talk of the grounds itself needing to be expanded.

For what? How much bigger does the place need to be?
Are there not enough stalls on the backside?
Not enough parking?
He wants it like Gulfstream and Santa Anita. Essentially a racetrack surrounded by a mall.
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Old 07-06-2016, 12:57 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperPickle
He wants it like Gulfstream and Santa Anita. Essentially a racetrack surrounded by a mall.
I wish all malls were surrounded by racetracks. Sometimes, one shouldn't get all that they want...
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Old 07-06-2016, 01:02 AM   #10
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There's a lot of old tracks that are now malls.

Brandywine, Narragansett, Roosevelt. Atlantic City will probably become a mall.
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Old 07-06-2016, 01:15 AM   #11
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There's a lot of old tracks that are now malls.

Brandywine, Narragansett, Roosevelt. Atlantic City will probably become a mall.
I'll never forget Roosevelt. That was a shame. In my dream world. AQU/BEL/SAR run during the day, 6 days a week.

Night time thoroughbreds at Roosevelt (expansion and conversion of old track). Maybe make it Fingers Lake south (cheap races only). Sigh....what could've been if the Cuomo's actually liked the industry.
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Old 07-06-2016, 06:06 AM   #12
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With the "resurgence" of Laurel and the effect on monmouth not being able to get enough horses, I am expecting monmouth to become a high end condo development in the next ten years
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Old 07-06-2016, 07:04 AM   #13
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what should have happened......

obviously frank should've got the casino and looking back i would've raced at pimlico while completely tearing down and rebuilding laurel with a casino hotel above the grandstand overlooking the laurel track (like how some baltimore hilton rooms overlook camden yards) where they'd eventually run the preakness.

i would've called this development triple crown casino at laurel park.
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Old 07-06-2016, 12:14 PM   #14
pele polo
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Originally Posted by Robert Fischer
I agree with what you wrote, and this is more of a minor issue than a major issue, but I have to disagree with the neighborhoods part.



lots of Pimlico neighborhood stories to go around

my most recent = I was Ubering(driving) from the Preakness for the $40/trip guarantees, and after a baffling move by local police to shut down a main drag, (and as a result have heavy traffic flow through a local neighborhood), I found my car surrounded by a gang of teens who began beating on it. Initially I thought a brick had hit my driver's-side window behind my head. I escaped with my life and avoided running them over, up an alley and down a 1-way street...

I'm not anti-pimlico, but the neighborhoods and location in general(traffic situation/restaurants/hotels) is certainly worse than Laurel.
Sorry to hear that and not to belittle your situation but there are two routes out of pimlico leading to major highways that don't involve going through the tough neighborhoods. If you're traveling south of the track, behind the backside, that seems to be the "hottest" area.

I actually like both tracks but prefer pimlico for live racing. My main point is that I don't see how Laurel is so much better as many seem to think. I'm sure a lot of it comes from the horsemen and can't blame them there.
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Old 07-06-2016, 01:03 PM   #15
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Living on the other side of the continent I'll leave to others to judge the live attendance attributes of each facility. Purely from a racing standpoint, Laurel lays over Pimlico. Pimlico can't run anything between 6f and 8.5f on dirt nor anything between 5f and 8f on turf. Plus it's a standard-width turf course so they can only run a limited number of races on it. At Laurel, they can run 5.5f and 6f on turf plus the wide course allows them to use multiple lanes so they can run many more grass races than Pimlico. And Laurel can run 7f and 8f on dirt.
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