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Baltimore withdraws lawsuit aimed at seizing Pimlico racetrack, says talks to begin with owners

Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun on

Published in Horse Racing

BALTIMORE -- Baltimore officials withdrew a lawsuit against the owners of the Pimlico racetrack Wednesday, saying the two sides had a productive discussion during the Preakness and have "discussed the resumption of good faith negotiations."

The city filed the suit against track owners The Stronach Group in March, asking a judge to block any attempt to move the Preakness to a track in Laurel and allowing the city to seize Pimlico.

"I am pleased that we have reached this withdrawal agreement and standstill with the Maryland Jockey Club and The Stronach Group to give the parties an opportunity to discuss Pimlico and racing in Maryland," Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young said in a statement.

In a statement issued by the mayor's office, Belinda Stronach, the company's chairman and president, said she appreciated the withdrawal of the suit,

"We ... look forward to working with Mayor Young and his representatives, along with the State and other stakeholders," she said.

The Baltimore Sun reported that Stronach had used much of the state aid for horse racing to renovate its track in Laurel.

In the lawsuit, filed when Catherine Pugh was mayor, the city alleged that the disparity in investment by the owners could create an "'emergency or disaster' to justify transfer of the Preakness to Laurel" under a state law that otherwise requires the Preakness to stay in Baltimore.

 

Lester Davis, a spokesman for Young, said the talks are expected to begin in coming weeks and that the mayor's "baseline" for the talks is that the Preakness continue to be held at Pimlico.

The Baltimore Sun Doug Donovan contributed to this article.

(c)2019 The Baltimore Sun

Visit The Baltimore Sun at www.baltimoresun.com

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