Pimlico Race Course

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Pimlico Race Course

Pimlico Race Course is a horse-racing track in Baltimore, Maryland, United States. It opened in 1870, at Park Heights Ave.

History of Pimlico Race Course

1870 – The home of the Preakness Stakes opened on October 25, 1870, and the second oldest racetrack in the nation behind Saratoga, which debuted in 1864 in upstate New York. 

1889 to 1904 – The race track went into a brief hiatus from flat racing when the Preakness and Dixie were run at other tracks, and “outlaw” race meetings arose around Maryland.

1904 – Pimlico commenced operating again. Race charts appeared quite similar to modern-day style, the first moment Baltimore readers found the news accounts more than mere social reports. 

1910 – Racing in Pimlico even survived a 1910 anti-gambling movement that swept the country, prohibiting the sport everywhere except in Maryland and Kentucky.

1956 – The old Clubhouse was restored with private rooms on the third floor named after Triple Crown winners. The President’s room stores racing archives, and the second floor displays the Jockey’s Hall of Fame. 

1966 – The building caught in the fire that started in the front rooms on June 17. The weather vane was the only thing saved from the fire. It was relocated to a replica Victorian cupola in the infield.

2010 – The Magna Entertainment Corporation sold the two Maryland Jockey Club tracks (Pimlico and Laurel Park) to its parent company, MI Development, on March 23. On May 7, Penn National Gaming and MI Development publicized their plans to co-own and operate the Maryland Jockey Club. 

2011 – The Stronach Group took over the management of the tracks when MI Development purchased Penn National Gaming’s minority stake in the Maryland Jockey Club in June. 

2018 – The track began using a GPS-based timing system. On December 14, a report suggested the existing buildings should be demolished and reconstructed. 

2019 – Part of the agreement between The Stronach Group and the city of Baltimore is the Stronach Group would offer both Pimlico and Laurel Park to newly established government entities that would supervise the properties, with Stronach licensed to host the race meets. Pimlico’s grandstand was demolished and replaced with a smaller one. They also added temporary seating to cope with the upcoming Preakness week. It also established new barns for horses.

Name Origin

“Pimlico” was the name given to the area by English settlers in Colonial times. Its original spelling was “Pemblicoe”, found on the original settlement charter granted to a group of Englishmen in 1669. The racetrack was also known as “Old Hilltop,” after a small rise in the infield that became trainers’ and race enthusiasts’ best choice for gathering to view the contestants at a close range. However, the notable infield “hill” was removed in April 1938 for obscuring the track-level vision of the racetrack backstretch, posing a problem for movie and television cameras in the early era of filming races.

Track Details and other Facilities​

Track Details

  • 🐎Dirt Track
    • 1-mile loam oval
    • Six-furlong and 1 1/4 mile chutes
    • Length of stretch from the last turn to the finish line measures1,152 feet
    • The track is 70 feet wide.
  • 🐎Turf Course (installed in 1954)
    • 7/8 of a mile inside the main track
    • Aluminum inner rail
    • A mixture of 90% Turf type tall fescue and 10% Blue Grass
    • Grass height is maintained at four to five inches during the racing season
  • 🐎Stable Area
    • 665 stalls
    • 132 sleeping rooms
  • 🐎Mechanical-Electronic Equipment
    • United Starting Gate
    • American Totalisator
    • Photo Finish/Camera
    • American Teletimer Corp. timing system
    • International Sound Corp.
    • Videotape patrol closed circuit television.
    • LumatronX Board.
    • 750 betting windows, including temporary windows on Preakness Day and automated betting machines. 

Other Facilities

  • 🐎Main grandstand
    • Capacitates 5,691 people
  • 🐎Clubhouse
    • Capacitates 1,269 people
  • 🐎Sports palace
    • Capacitates 160 people
  • 🐎The Dining area 
    • Capacitates 1,806 people
  • 🐎Restrooms
    • Clubhouse Levels 1, 2 & 3
    • Grandstand on the 2nd Level
    • Concourse on the 1st Level
  • 🐎Concessions
    • 1st Level of the Clubhouse
    • 1st Level Concourse 
    • 1st and 2nd Level Grandstand
  • 🐎Elevators
    • Clubhouse Level 1
    • Grandstand Level 1 by the First Aid Office
  • 🐎Guest Service Centers
    • 1st Level of the Clubhouse year round. 
    • 1st Level of the Grandstand on Preakness Day.
  • 🐎Wheelchair Companioned Seating
    • Clubhouse Box Sections 1-12 (Row N only)
    • Grandstand Apron Box 1-29 (All seats)
    • Grandstand Lower Box Section 1-40 (Row I only)
    • Concourse Apron Box 29-90 (All seats)

Major Events and Schedule

Graded Stakes Races

  • Grade 1
  • Grade 2
      • 🐴Dinner Party Stakes (1870) {formerly the Dixie Stakes}
      • 🐴George E. Mitchell Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (1919)
  • Grade 3
      • 🐴Pimlico Special (1937)
      • 🐴Gallorette Stakes (1952)
      • 🐴Chick Lang Stakes (1975)
      • 🐴Miss Preakness Stakes (1986)
      • 🐴Maryland Sprint Stakes (1987)
      • 🐴Allaire duPont Distaff Stakes (1992)

Other Notable Stakes Races

      • 🐴Bowie Handicap (1909)
      • 🐴Geisha Stakes (1973)
      • 🐴Pimlico Nursery Stakes (1910)
      • 🐴Pimlico Spring Handicap (1917)
      • 🐴Deputed Testamony Stakes (1986)
      • 🐴William Donald Schaefer Handicap (1994)
      • 🐴Henry S. Clark Stakes (2001)
      • 🐴Shine Again Stakes (2006)

Listed (ungraded) Stakes Races

      • 🐴James A. Murphy Stakes (1966)
      • 🐴Hilltop Stakes (1973)
      • 🐴Skipat Stakes (1993)
      • 🐴Sir Barton Stakes (1999)
      • 🐴Jim McKay Turf Sprint (2006)
      • 🐴The Very One Stakes (1993)

Non-racing events

  • Pimlico is also home to other non-racing events, such as the Virgin Festival from 2006 through 2008 and Moonrise (festival), an electronic dance music festival featuring artists such as Above & Beyond, Bassnectar, and Kaskade.

Pimlico Race Schedule

  • Live Racing
    • Every Friday through Sunday
  • Simulcasting (1st Floor Clubhouse)
    • Mondays & Tuesdays: Closed (some holiday exceptions)
    • Wednesdays & Thursdays: 11:00am – 6:15pm
    • Fridays & Saturdays: 11:00am – 11:15pm
    • Sundays: 11:00am – 8:15pm

Location and Access to the Racecourse

  • It is located at 5201 Park Heights Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland, United States, and is owned by Stronach Group. 
  • The track area is bounded by Park Heights and Winner Avenues to the west, West Rogers Avenue and West Northern Parkway to the north, Preakness Way to the east, and West Belvedere Avenue to the south.
  • For major events, a shuttle is typically set by the Maryland Transit Administration going to the race course from light rail and metro stations. 
  • Free Admission and Free General Parking Parking
  • Accessible Drop off Zone
    • Available at the Clubhouse entrance on Preakness and Black-Eyed Susan Day 
    • Purchasable at the Ticket Office for $25 before Black-Eyed Susan Day and Preakness Day. 
    • Passes are for drop-off ONLY and do not permit pick-up.

Contact

Other racetracks are sorted and listed on the page “List of Racetracks”. To view the full list, hit the button below. You can also check the horse racing types and breeds to have a lot more in-depth knowledge about horse racing. 

Pimlico Race Course

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