Don’t say you weren’t warned in advance. When the Preakness leaves Baltimore after 132 years, don’t be surprised, shocked or unprepared. Because it’s going to happen, very soon, unless some sort of financial assistance comes to the rescue of the horse breeding and racing industry in Maryland.
It’s incomprehensible that the industry has reached this point. I don’t believe people truly appreciate what horse breeding and racing have meant economically to our state over the past century. This is a truly sad time for anyone who works in the horse business at any level. It’s like watching a loved one die a slow and agonizing death without any medical assistance. The end is in sight, but nobody knows when it will come. And nobody will offer aid.
It’s easy to knock the industry for poor marketing, allowing potential fans to find other sports entertainment, blah blah blah. But the fact is that both of our beautiful stadia in downtown were funded by taxpayer dollars. So the argument that the state shouldn’t get involved and provide aid in the form of slots is empty. If we committed public monies in the past for baseball and football, why shouldn’t the same be done for horse racing? It’s nonsensical to me that legislators will decry the "evils of gambling" while the Maryland State Lottery is filling the state’s coffers. Total hypocrisy.
So "down the stretch they come", probably for the last time at Old Hilltop and Laurel Park.
Mark your calendars now for Saturday, May 17, 2008. The final running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course. After that, we can just watch it on television from Gulfstream Park or Santa Anita. That’s a thought that really makes me mad and sad all at once.
Do you care? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.