As National Attention Comes Once Again To The Preakness, Future Of Laurel Park Is Murky

On a mild, spring afternoon at Laurel Park, Sissy Greisman and Julie Slater are awaiting the start of the second race. While reviewing their program in search of a winning horse, they bemoan the fact that racing days at this historic track are numbered.

“It’s sad, of course it’s sad,” said Greisman, who owned and trained standardbred horses for years. “It’s iconic and it’s beautiful, but with online betting, nobody comes to the track anymore.”

For decades, the General Assembly fiercely debated how to save the struggling racing industry. Many legislators balked at having the state continue to subsidize the failing tracks year after year. This year, however, the legislature approved a complex deal that calls for a complete overhaul of Pimlico Race Course.