Days before Preakness, water main breaks in front of main Pimlico entrance

Hallie Miller and Colin Campbell, The Baltimore Sun on

Published in Horse Racing

BALTIMORE -- Crews have repaired a water main that broke outside the Pimlico Race Course entrance Tuesday, days before Preakness crowds descend upon the track for Baltimore's largest sporting event of the year.

As of Wednesday morning, a large hole remained outside the main entrance. Officials said it would be filled by the end of the day.

The break comes amid scrutiny of Pimlico's outdated infrastructure and speculation about the Preakness' future in Baltimore. The Maryland Jockey Club announced last month it was shutting down nearly 7,000 seats in the track's Old Grandstand because an engineering firm found they were "no longer suitable to sustain that level of load-bearing weight."

A Maryland Stadium Authority report issued last year recommended rebuilding the 149-year-old race course at a cost of $424 million. The Stronach Group, which owns Pimlico, has meanwhile been moving to create a "super track" at its facility in Laurel that could eventually host the Preakness.

Another water main break occurred several blocks away, on the 6800 block of Pimlico Drive, on Tuesday, said Kurt Kocher, a spokesman for the Baltimore Department of Public Works.

Kocher said he did not know the cause of the break, but that it could be a sign of old age or a defective pipe. He said acidic soil could have also played a factor. The break that occurred outside the Pimlico entrance was not under city jurisdiction, he said.


Over 134,000 fans visited the race track last year on Preakness Day. Road closures begin Thursday and run through Saturday night.

The Baltimore Sun Lillian Reed contributed to this article.

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