No, Horse racing is not “yesterday’s sport” and Pimlico is worth saving

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Bill Hamilton wrote an opinion piece in The Sun stating that any effort to revitalize Pimlico Racecourse (and the surrounding neighborhood) would be a “ridiculous” waste of time, money, effort and resources (“Pimlico: a dead horse,” Dec. 28). Mr. Hamilton suggests that us Baltimoreans are too fixated upon nostalgia and goes on to baselessly denigrate the Preakness as an event for people wearing silly hats, operated by “cheating trainers” who abuse horses for a living, glibly labeling the racing industry as “yesterday’s sport.”

As a horse owner, the suggestion by Mr. Hamilton that those of us in the sport are cheaters and abusers of the animals we care so much about is not only insulting, but absurd. Because it is clear that Mr. Hamilton is wholly ill-informed, and knows absolutely nothing about the industry or positive economic impact that the Preakness annually brings to our city, I thought it important to introduce some facts into the discussion.

A 2018 economic impact study generated by the American Horse Council determined that the Maryland horse industry added more than $1.3 billion to the state’s economy, with $572 million dollars being contributed by the racing industry. Moreover, the racing industry supports more than 5,200 jobs in our state. With regard to the Preakness, in a 2017 report, the Maryland Department of Commerce found that the Preakness weekend generated a nearly $40 million positive impact for our city. In addition to the undeniable economics, the publicity and prestige that goes along with hosting one of the top 10 sporting events in the nation every year is simply immeasurable.

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 15-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 twice. He cashed on the NHC Tour for 2018 with a 19th overall finish. Rich was also a winner of a $24,000 package into Kentucky Derby Betting Championship I. A former executive with Brisnet.com, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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