Bobby Zen

According to an article written by Pamela Wood of The Balitmore Banner on Wednesday, Apr. 3, Churchill Downs Inc. has made an “overture” to buy Pimlico, the Home of the Preakness Stakes. The report says the information comes from two unnamed sources in the Maryland state capital familiar with the negotiations.

Wood writes that one of the sources said Churchill has been lobbying to derail a bill in the state legislature that’s necessary for the state ownership deal to go through.

The article says that representatives of Churchill Downs did not respond to multiple voicemail and email messages seeking comment on the company’s interest in Pimlico.

At this point, Wood writes, it is not clear how serious Churchill Downs’s interest is or whether the company made a formal or informal offer to Pimlico or the state about buying the track. She claims that some in Annapolis have privately expressed skepticism about Churchill’s motives, given that it has many more casinos than racetracks among its properties.

The piece goes on to quote Craig Fravel, Executive Vice Chairman of Stronach’s 1/ST Racing and Gaming. Fravel issued a statement Wednesday that there was no pending offer from Churchill Downs to his company, which is “not in any negotiation with them. We remain committed to the contemplated transactions as negotiated,” he said.

The Banner article goes on to explain that Churchill’s involvement could complicate efforts to execute the state takeover plan for Pimlico, which involves legislation that’s pending in the final days of the Maryland General Assembly session.

Wood states that several lawmakers have expressed reservations about the state taking over the track and running Thoroughbred racing, along with some elements of the plan to pay for hundreds of millions of dollars in renovations.

The piece also says that a bill passed (104-34) the House of Delegates on Monday night and is facing unknown odds in the Senate.

Senate President Bill Ferguson told reporters Tuesday, “It’s going to be some tough conversations here in the next few days to figure out if there is a clear path forward.”

Wood said that Ferguson would not offer a timeline for the Senate’s consideration of the bill. The end of the General Assembly’s annual legislative session is approaching at midnight Monday, Apr. 8.

The post Report: Churchill Downs Enters Late Bid To Purchase Pimlico appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

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