BALTIMORE, May 11 (UPI) -- Maryland will use eminent domain, if necessary, to keep future runnings of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico racetrack, the state's governor said.
"If the state has to step up (to seize the tracks), that's what we'll have to do," said Gov. Martin O'Malley, calling the Preakness a "rite of spring."
Many in Maryland fear this Saturday's 134th running of the Preakness, the middle jewel of Thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown, may be the last at Pimlico, whose owner, Magna Entertainment Corp., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March, The Baltimore Sun reported Monday.
Magna, which owns the rights to the Preakness, also owns California's Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., which it plans to auction off in September, the Sun reported.
Magna has agreed, for the time being, to keep Pimlico off the auction block while state and area leaders work with potential buyers, said Peter Angelos, who owns a string of race horses.
"I think that's a step forward," said Angelos, who also owns the Orioles baseball team.