- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 8, 2009

ANNAPOLIS — Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley said Wednesday he wants to use eminent domain to keep the Preakness Stakes in the state.

Mr. O’Malley introduced legislation to the General Assembly to use the legal maneuver, in response to rumors that the race, the second leg of the fabled Triple Crown, may be moved to another state after a bankruptcy filing last month by the company that owns the rights to the race and Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, where the event is held.

“We want to ensure that we have maximum flexibility in order to protect the Preakness,” said Mr. O’Malley, a Democrat. “We need to preserve the options available to the state to keep the rich tradition of the Preakness here in Maryland.”

The bill, which will be debated in the Assembly later this week, will allow the state to purchase or exercise eminent domain over Laurel Park Racetrack, the Bowie Race Course Training Center and the Pimlico track. All rights and racing events that are associated with the Preakness Stakes, including its trophy, the Woodlawn Vase, can also be subject to a state takeover, according to the legislation.

The tracks’ Canadian owner, Magna Entertainment Corp., filed for bankruptcy in early March.

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