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Monday, August 5
Stronach planning to rebuild Pimlico Race Course

Maverick racetrack owner Frank Stronach is planning to tear do down and rebuild Pimlico Race Course immediately after next year's Preakness, Stronach has told the Baltimore Sun. Stronach said the new Pimlico would not be ready in time for the 2004 Preakness, and the race would be run at nearby Laurel Park.

Stronach's Magna Entertainment Corporation recently reached an agreement with the Maryland Jockey Club to buy a majority share in Pimlico and Laurel.

Stronach told the Sun that he feels the dilapidated nature of Pimlico has to be addressed, but he is not interested in seeing the track close for good.

"I think the whole track needs to be torn down," he said. "Pimlico must remain; there's too much tradition involved. But it would be totally rebuilt from scratch. We would flatten it completely.

Stronach said the new Pimlico would be ready for the 2005 Preakness.

In addition to rebuilding Pimlico, Stronach wants to build a technical training center for inner city youths who live in the blue-collar neighborhood surrounding the track. The new facility would include an auto parts factory run by Magna International, Stronach's auto parts business, and the students would be trained there for careers in auto parts manufacturing.

Magna Entertainment reportedly paid $117.5 million to buy 51 percent of Pimlico and Laurel. Pimlico, which opened in 1870, is one of the most historic tracks in racing, but the facility has become rundown in recent years and many see it as an eyesore. Pimlico's reputation was further hurt during the 1998 Preakness when a power failure left fans sweltering in the late spring heat and, in many parts of the track, unable to wager.

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