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March 20, 2009

Will Angelos be the savior of the Preakness?

It's not so surprising that Peter Angelos would be the first person to step up and pledge his fortune to keep the Preakness in Maryland. He's got the money, he's got the interest in horse racing and he's got the attitude of a civic leading man -- the sort of sort you saw a lot of back in the Schaefer days. It takes some chutzpah, after all, to anoint yourself the savior.

Angelos has toyed with the idea of buying a track before. (Or, rather, his family has toyed with the idea, since Major League Baseball is not keen on its team owners also running gambling establishments.) But previously, his interest had seemed to wax and wane with the possiblity of getting a piece of the (presumably much more lucrative) slots action. Based on the way the bidding for Maryland's video lottery terminal licenses has unfolded, it's hard to imagine someone even so influential as Angelos pulling off a Preakness-slots combination somewhere.

But the Preakness might be glory (and profit) enough to hold his interest, even without slots. Before, he was talking about buying Rosecroft, a dusty harness track in Prince George's that would only be a surefire moneymaker with one-armed bandits attached. But the Preakness is profitable enough to support an entire year of racing by itself.

The question is, does Maryland want Angelos to save the Preakness? If his ownership of the Orioles were up to a popular vote, I shudder to think how that would go. But what are the alternatives? Magna keeps running the thing? The totally broke state of Maryland takes it over? How far should the state go to keep the second race of the Triple Crown?

Posted by Andy Green at 12:15 PM | | Comments (6)


one thig angelos should be learning about running a business he has no expertise in is that you should hire good people who know what they are doing. for yrs he ran the orioles and failed. since hiring macphail one can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. if he buys pimlico you would home he hire experienced successful race track people. and most importantly don't let defrancis get involved.

Same firm has represented Angelos and Magna.

Peter has all the expertise in racing. He would be the first person to be in the racing business in Maryland in over 20 years.

Remember. Joe DeFrancis knew absolutely nothing, and acted like it. Frank Stronach, a foreign owner, didn't care about anything except possible slot machines, which was also Joe DeFrancis' life quest.

Thanks for the spelling correction

Maybe the lobbying firm will be able to get slots at the race tracks after all. Not for one client (the client who paid for lobbying for years), but for another (that its represented for years as well).

Any ethics issues with that? That apply to lobbyists? Or lawyers?

Magna is the worst run company in the horse racing industry. They deserve to go Bankrupt with the horrible business decisions they have made in the past. With all the tracks they own, they can not make a profit. When Magna bought out DeFrancis, they ran Laurel and Pimlico to the ground. They made Maryland Racing and the the Maryland Jockey Club a joke. Trainers and riders have been leaving for years to go to more lucrative tracks across state lines such as Delaware Park, Charlestown, Mountaineer, and even Philadelphia Park. The State of Maryland has become the laughing stock in Horse Racing for years. Look at the purses and the type of races they run now compared to what it was BEFORE Magna took over. There is no way Mr. Angelos is going to take over the race tracks. The State of Maryland would rather shut them down, demolish the barns,housing, training centers, etc., and build some Section 8 Housing in place. Laurel and Pimlico have been waiting YEARS for slots to become legal in Maryland and now they won't even be able to get a license. What a freaking joke of a state we live in. What was the problem when EHRLICH proposed slots immediately upton taking office only to be blocked by who? The Preakness will be run in Santa Anita, Hollywood Park, or Gulfstream Park. Put your money on that... not Pimlico.

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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