MTROA Formulating New Not-For-Profit Operating Structure; Meeting Set For May 3

Monday, May 13, 2024

Update: The Maryland Thoroughbred Racetrack Operating Authority will meet Friday, May 3, with an open session and then an executive session. The online meeting link is You can join by phone at 1-302-924-8299, PIN: 703604473

With the approval of legislation that authorizes the redevelopment of Pimlico Race Course and creation of a not-for-profit operator under the Maryland Thoroughbred Racetrack Operating Authority, the planning process for operations after Jan. 1, 2025, has hit high gear.

Under various agreements with 1/ST Racing (The Stronach Group), the not-for-profit will assume operations of Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course at that time. 1/ST RACING will operate the Preakness at Pimlico this year and in 2025, and at Laurel in 2026 to accommodate construction at Pimlico.

The MTROA and its not-for-profit will take control at the new Pimlico in 2027. Outside of those two days, the not-for-profit will be in charge of all racing operations at Laurel Park and Pimlico beginning in 2025. 1/ST agreed to allow use of Laurel Park for racing and training “rent-free” for three years (2025-27), with an extension if needed.

The legislation passed both houses April 8, the final day of the 2024 Maryland General Assembly session, and takes effect June 1. Gov. Wes Moore is expected to sign it into law, perhaps the week of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico.

The “Pimlico Plus” plan calls for the acquisition of land for a new training center that will eventually replace Laurel and is scheduled to be constructed during the Pimlico redevelopment. As of late April several potential sites (Mitchell Farm in Harford County, Shamrock Farm in Carroll County and the old Bowie Training Center) had been under consideration but none selected.

The legislation designated Park Heights Renaissance to oversee $10 million that will be used to create workforce housing near Pimlico as part of a community redevelopment plan. The training center is scheduled to have on-site dormitories for backstretch employees.

The overall project will be funded through $400 million in bonds issued by the Maryland Stadium Authority. The legislation projects spending of at least $250 million at the Pimlico site and about $110 million for the training center.

The MTROA on April 29 held its first public since meeting since passage of the legislation. MTROA Chairman Greg Cross said the meeting was a prelude to a working group that met in executive session, but that the MTROA would have another meeting soon, that would largely be a public session with comments from Maryland Stadium Authority and Populous, a consultant. He said meetings at which the public can participate would now be starting with regularity.