Pimlico stables won't close for winter

Jockey Club backtracks, to keep backstretch open

October 28, 2001|By SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The Maryland Jockey Club announced yesterday that the Pimlico Race Course stable area will remain open throughout the winter months. Previously, the MJC indicated that the Pimlico backstretch would close, effective Oct. 31 through early March 2002.

The MJC is the only racetrack operator in the United States that simultaneously maintains three complete training and stabling facilities, and provides them free of charge to horsemen throughout the year. Those facilities include Pimlico, Laurel Park and the Bowie Training Center.

Management's desire to work with Maryland thoroughbred horsemen and an unanticipated increase in demand by trainers for stabling in Maryland for the upcoming winter and spring meetings prompted the change in plans. Over the past few weeks, MJC officials met with and received input from representatives of the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, as well as Pimlico trainers and backstretch workers, regarding the proposed winter closing.

"The Maryland racing product has proven strong this fall," said Lou Raffetto, chief operating officer for the MJC. "We have always maintained, and continue to maintain, our ongoing dedication to provide stabling for all horsemen who support the Maryland racing program. Although the economics of simultaneously operating three racing facilities, particularly during the winter months, remains challenging, we believe it is in the best interests of Maryland racing to continue to do so at this time.

"We will always be willing to maintain Pimlico as an additional training center for those horsemen who support Maryland racing, as long as there is a legitimate need."

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