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Owner cutting racing days at Pimlico

Sept. 8, 2005 at 4:14 PM

BALTIMORE, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- The Canadian company that owns Maryland's famed Pimlico Race Track plans to run only 18 days of racing there next year.

Magna Entertainment Corp. want to have only 94 racing days at its other Maryland Track, Laurel Park, down from 120, the Baltimore Sun reported.

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The company argues that the cutback will make racing stronger in Maryland by allowing it to offer bigger purses, which would attract bettors. Average daily purses would increase from $193,877 to $303,571.

State officials are concerned about the fate of the Preakness Cup, the second race in the Triple Crown.

"The goal of this plan is to maintain thoroughbred horse racing in Maryland and keep the Preakness in Baltimore, where we want it to be," said Paul Cellucci, a former Massachusetts governor now heading Magna.

Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich said that Magna's cuts are a wakeup call to the state Legislature to legalize slot machines at racetracks. West Virginia and Delaware allow slots and Pennsylvania is about add them.

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