As of Tuesday, it looked like the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of Horse Racing's Triple Crown, would need to find a new location. The owners of the Pimlico race track, which has held the event since 1873, and the Maryland Racing Commission had been in a dispute because the owners weren't able to profit from an entire 146-day racing season. They proposed a modified schedule that asked the racing commission to help provide funds for the season, but were turned down, leaving the Preakness and the entire season in doubt.
However, it looks like that crisis has been averted for now. A spokesperson for Gov. Martin O'Malley told the Associated Press that the state of Maryland will provide the necessary funds to keep the season alive.
Joseph Bryce, O'Malley's chief legislative officer, told reporters about the agreement after meeting with horse racing representatives Wednesday morning in Annapolis.
Bryce says between $3.5 million to $4 million would be redirected from the state's slot machine proceeds to pay for operating cost.
The plan still needs to be approved by the racing commission, but given that funds were the major thing that caused the dispute, it should go through.
Governer O'Malley issued the following statement on Wednesday.
"I am pleased to announce that an agreement has been reached, and that industry representatives, track owners, horsemen and breeders were able to come together to reach a consensus that will allow for a full season of racing in 2011. Over the next several hours, the parties will put in writing a proposal for consideration by the Racing Commission."
The dispute between the owners of the track and the racing commission had come because the two sides could not figure out a solution to fund the 146-race season. MI Developments and Penn National Gaming, which owns the track, proposed a full schedule, but with concessions including forfeiting the $1.7 million simulcasting rights to devote that money toward operating costs. That was rejected. The owners then came back with a proposal for a 78-race season with only the simulcasting rights, and were also rejected.