A long, rich past

July 16, 2002|By Tom Keyser

Pimlico Race Course opened Oct. 25, 1870, making it the second-oldest racetrack in the country, behind Saratoga, which debuted in 1864. Few tracks boast a richer history than Pimlico, where such legendary horses as Man O' War and Secretariat graced its barns and thundered down its stretch.

The Seabiscuit-War Admiral match race in 1937 remains one of sports' most famous events. Each May, the Preakness attracts 100,000 revelers and shines a national spotlight on Pimlico. But age and lack of resources for upgrades have taken their toll, and Pimlico has fallen into disrepair.

Pimlico ownership

1870: Annapolis-based Maryland Jockey Club opens track.

1904: purchased by William R. Hammond

1938: Purchased by Alfred G. Vanderbilt (above)

1952: purchased by Herman and Ben Cohen (above) in association with Louis Pondfield

FOR THE RECORD - A caption that accompanied a photo of a Pimlico Race Course crowd in yesterday's editions should have said it showed a scene from Nov. 1, 1938, the day of the famous match race between Seabiscuit and War Admiral.
The Sun regrets the errors.

1986: purchased by Frank J. De Francis

1989: inherited by son Joseph A. De Francis (left) and daughter Karin De Francis (right)

2002: controlling share purchased by Magna Entertainment Corp., pending regulatory approval. Frank Stronach is Magna's chairman.

Laurel ownership

1911: Opened as county fair

1914: purchased by James Butler of New York

1947: purchased by Alfred G. Vanderbilt

1950: purchased by Morris Schapiro of Baltimore, who named his son, John D. Schapiro (above), president

1984: purchased by Frank J. De Francis and partners

1989: inherited by son Joseph A De Francis, and daughter Karin De Francis

2002: controlling share purchased by Magna Entertainment Corp., pending regulatory approval.

Researched by: Alex Kopicki and Paul McCardell

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