May. 5, 2019
We Got So Many Better Options For Our Black Baltimore Community Than A Beat Up Horse Racing Track
I watched a few moments of the Kentucky Derby yesterday. Besides Laila Ali for me personally, it was a sporting event that no longer drew my interest. Did I mention that Laila Ali was talking about being fierce, damn, she sure is fierce, the horse race not so much. So, decided to spend my Sunday morning writing, not about the horse race but why blacks in Baltimore City give a damn about keeping a dilapidated Pimlico Race Track open?
Did you know or even care that horse racing ranks only ahead of bowling and fishing as a spectator sport today? I assumed as much because besides 3 racing events in the Spring who really gives a damn about horse racing? Especially in black communities, horse racing is irrelevant. So I wonder why black residents are launching efforts in my hometown to keep a depleted, broken-down, relic of a horse racetrack named Pimlico? If this was the 1950's when horseracing was actually the numero uno spectator sport in this country. The fight to keep the track open would be a legitimate concern. However, besides the historic dirt track at Pimlico which has felt the hoof poundings of such horses like Seabiscuit, Bold Ruler, Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Justify, American Pharoah, Spectacular Bid, Man O' War, War Admiral, Affirmed, Whirlaway, Ruffian, Native Dancer, Foolish Pleasure, Swale, Count Barton, Funny Cide, Gallant Fox and the tens of thousands of thoroughbreds that have entered the opening posts at Old Hilltop.
Why should the residents fight to keep this dying track alive? Should the only consideration be for the few trinkets that are made from white folks parking on your property that 3rd Saturday in May? Or for the few dollars collected during the massive cleanup of the Pimlico infield on the 3rd Sunday in May? Maybe it should be the few black vendors who can make a few ducats for folks entering the Pimlico track? I heard so white sports reporter say that if Pimlico was not in that same spot in the coming years it would create a vast desert because no investors would come in and build in that location. Why? Well, this white man felt that because of the current residents basically black and poor surrounding Pimlico there would be no incentive to replace Pimilco with any viable alternative. That is what you call implied racism not explicit but implied because he is saying that black folks needed Pimlico even though Pimlico does absolutely nothing for the communities and neighborhoods that surround the track. Do the current owners of Pimlico really give two shits about the black community that surrounds the track? Ask yourself this question, ask it honestly why would you want to keep a dilapidated horseracing track that is part of a dying sport?
Don't you feel that the black community could create an alternative solution that would benefit not only the Park Heights-Pimlico Communities besides a racetrack that is only opened what 3-6 weeks a year? Besides that 3rd Friday and 3rd Saturday in May the track is essentially a spectator starved facility because horseracing is an afternoon event. Who goes to the racetrack to bet the ponies now? I would assume a few diehards but the millennials who have access cash surely don't. Not when they have full-fledged betting casinos within spitting distance of Pimlico Race Course. What is Baltimore City missing currently? Let's not talk about shopping venues because of the fact that concrete and merchandise stores are also a dying breed. Besides the rebuilding of the homes in the area surrounding Pimlico's Race Course, Baltimore needs premier sports and entertainment arena. If you can take a realistic look at the future of the city why not build a 15,000 seat arena that would provide a venue for the entire city. In addition, it will be used by the residents of the city more than one weekend a year it could also provide employment opportunities as well. Whose to say it would be limited just for events? It could also house training facilities to nurture students and residents to be trained to do the backstage and graphics work of the sporting and entertainment industry.
Black folks unless they come across multimillions of dollars aren't tomorrow thoroughbred horse owners. It simply isn't advantageous to keep a dying track simply because of some historic dirt that horses hoofs ran on. I believe that moving the Preakness is not the death nil for the communities and neighborhoods surrounding Pimlico Race Track. I believe that if we could create a world-class facility that could house college basketball tournaments (MEAC, CIAA, CAA) as well as bring world-class entertainers to Baltimore City. Stick some dynamite caps to that atrocious Royal Arena that is an eyesore to downtown Baltimore. Then take the same dynamite caps to the eyesore that is currently Pimlico Race Track. You can build a majestic hotel site where the Royal Arena sits and create a destination site where Pimlico Race Course currently stands in its current state which is decrepit and dilapidated. The key to this solution is a willingness to think outside the current box of thought some of our city leaders are stuck in.