Maryland political and Thoroughbred industry leaders announced an agreement April 30 that would keep the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) in the state regardless of what happens to the ownership of Pimlico.
“When Magna entered bankruptcy last year, working with the governor’s office, the office of attorney general immediately drafted emergency legislation granting Maryland condemnation authority over Magna’s Maryland assets, including the Preakness,” said Attorney General Doug Gansler. “That law, in conjunction with the state’s existing right of first refusal over any transfer of Pimlico, gave Maryland the hammer we needed to work out an agreement with new owner MID. I’m pleased that we were able to provide the legal support to the governor to ensure the Preakness forever remains a Maryland tradition.”
Under the agreement, known as the Preakness Covenant, Maryland waives its statutory right of first refusal to buy the Preakness Stakes and parent company MI Developments (MID), agrees that it will not move the Preakness from Maryland. The agreement also specifically states:
• MID agrees that the Preakness Covenant will be binding on MID’s successors and assigns;
• The state of Maryland and MID agree that any disputes about the agreement, including a dispute about the Preakness Covenant, will be decided in a Maryland court;
• The parties acknowledge that money damages would not be a sufficient remedy for breach of the Preakness Covenant, and agree that Maryland is entitled to specific performance and injunctive or other equitable relief as a remedy for a breach of the Preakness Covenant; and
• Nothing in the agreement alters or negates the state’s statutory, police, or regulatory power.
“For 134 years (and counting) the Preakness Stakes has been run in the State of Maryland and has belonged to the people of our state,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “The Preakness Covenant will ensure that people of Maryland continue to enjoy this time-honored tradition, and that the state of Maryland and city of Baltimore will continue to realize the economic benefits of this annual event.”