Officials Want Law to Keep Preakness in Baltimore

Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley and former mayor William Donald Schaefer have urged lawmakers to pass legislation to ensure the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course remains in Baltimore.

The Baltimore Sun reported O'Malley and Schaefer appeared together March 5 to support a bill that would require the owner Magna Entertainment, the owner of Pimlico, to transfer ownership rights to the Preakness trademark to the state as a condition of receiving a license to operate slot machines.

Under the legislation sponsored by Del. Ann Marie Doory, the track owners would continue to have the right to use and profit from the Preakness name. However, they could not move the Triple Crown race from Baltimore, the newspaper reported.

MEC has said it would not move the Preakness out of Maryland. Schaefer recalled that when he was mayor, Baltimore Colts owner Robert Irsay promised he would never move the Colts out of Baltimore even though Irsay had come to terms with the mayor of Indianapolis.

"Once it's gone, it'll rarely ever come back," Schaefer said.

Gov. Robert Ehrlich Jr. has proposed 10,500 slot machines at four Maryland racetracks, including 3,000 at Pimlico.