Preakness Deal Adds Another Chapter to Bitter Feud Between Stronach Father and Daughter
Posted on: October 12, 2019, 11:48h.
Last updated on: October 13, 2019, 10:17h.
One week after officials from The Stronach Group (TSG) and the city of Baltimore reached an agreement to keep the Preakness Stakes in Maryland’s largest city, the founder of the family-owned company that runs Pimlico Race Course and the family’s patriarch have raised questions about the deal.
The rift between Frank Stronach and his daughter, Belinda, is not new. Last year, he and his wife filed a lawsuit in Canada against Belinda, TSG’s chairman and president, and her children. They claimed she has mismanaged the company since the elder Stronach stepped down six years ago. Belinda has since countersued.
I would like to point out very strongly that Belinda does not speak for the Stronach family,” Frank Stronach wrote in an email to The Baltimore Sun earlier this week. “At this time, there is litigation because Belinda’s father, her brother, her mother strongly disagree with Belinda’s actions and behavior.”
In an interview with The Sun, Stronach said he didn’t necessarily oppose the deal, except to say that his daughter does not have a legitimate claim to the run the company and that he wished the agreement included more perks for the neighborhood surrounding Pimlico.
Elder Stronach Entitled to Opinion
In a statement to Casino.org, TSG said Frank Stronach, like anyone, is entitled to their opinion on racing. However, the elder Stronach no longer serves in an official capacity with the company that owns Pimlico, Laurel Park, the Maryland Jockey Club (MJC) and several other tracks across the country.
“TSG and MJC are fully focused on the critically important and transformative plans for Maryland racing and community development that we, along with the Maryland Thoroughbred Industry, the Mayor of Baltimore City, and the County Executives of Anne Arundel and Baltimore Counties have submitted to State leaders,” the company said.
Terms of the Agreement
Under terms of the agreement, both TSG and Baltimore officials will urge Maryland lawmakers to approve a $375 million proposal that would redevelop Pimlico into a community center. It would still be used for horse racing, but the land could also be used for athletic fields or other public gatherings. The project, which would also include a new grandstand and community center, is estimated to cost nearly $200 million. The city would own Pimlico, with The Stronach Group leasing it to run the Preakness, the second leg of racing’s Triple Crown.
The remaining funds would be used to renovate Laurel Park, allowing it to become a year-round racing hub in the state.
The proposal would be funded through bonds issued by the Maryland Stadium Authority. Those bonds would be paid for by extending a racetrack renewal account beyond its current 2032 expiration date. That account receives its funding from the state’s casinos.
Previously, TSG called for state officials to approve a renovation plan only for Laurel, located halfway between Baltimore and Washington, DC. Once that was completed, TSG would then move the prestigious race there.
Baltimore officials objected to the plan, and earlier this year, they went to court to stop the move. City officials sought to acquire Pimlico and the Preakness by condemning the 149-year-old track
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