Does the Preakness need saving?
As Gadi Dechter reports today, Gov. O'Malley is seeking authority to take the Preakness, Pimlico and Laurel Park by eminent domain, if necessary, to keep the second leg of the Triple Crown in Maryland. Gadi also notes that it's entirely unclear whether that law, like the existing one giving the state the right of first refusal to buy the race, would be accepted by the judge handling Magna Entertainment Corp.'s bankruptcy.
But here's the interesting thing: We've now got at least four people saying they want to bid for the tracks and keep the Preakness in Maryland. Peter Angelos stepped in first, expressing his interest in a meeting with the governor and presiding officers of the legislature. Then came David Cordish, who wants to buy the tracks at the same time that he's angling for a slots license at Arundel Mills. Next up: Carl Verstandig, a Pikesville developer who first said he wanted to raze Pimlico and didn't much care about the Preakness but who has changed his tune. And then there's Halsey Minor, a tech millionaire and racing enthusiast who wants to buy the Maryland tracks and most of Magna's other properties.
Contrast that with the anemic bidding for Maryland slots licenses.
I realize that fretting about the future of the Preakness is a Maryland tradition as rich as the black eyed Susan, but it's hard to look at the evidence so far and conclude that Magna's bankruptcy is truly putting the race at risk.