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People and Places Behind Pimlico Race Course
By Starr Crusenberry
Pimlico, Maryland has seen many changes over the last century. Residents and businesses come and go, new roads, bridges, schools and other infrastructureare built and torn down, forever changing the landscape of the neighborhood. But Pimlico Race Coursew is one place that has remained a fixture in Pimlico since 1870, making it the second oldest racetrack in the nation.
The greatest race horses in the history of the sport have galloped on the dirt at Pimlico, making the track a historical landmark, in addition to an everyday center of bustling activity.
Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland is most well known for hosting the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the legendary Triple Crown. What many people are not aware of, however, is the group of indigenous people that play a vital role Pimlico Race Course's everyday existence.
Baltimore-based businesses like Pratt Saddlery and Victory Racing Plate Company both share a long-standing relationship with horse racing and Pimlico. These businesses depend on the patronage from Pimlico to keep their operations running. Trainers, riders, grooms, blacksmiths, etcetera depend on these businesses to supply them with the goods and services they need to do their jobs.
All racetracks, including Pimlico, employ a special group of "horse people" to manage the daily undertakings of running a racetrack. These people range from groom to the starting gate crew.
Although these jobs are generally not well paying, the payoff comes in the form of their racing plates being worn by the years most promising young racehorse, their saddle being on the back of the winner, their elbow grease making the horse shine, or their start that got all the horses off and running safely.
Most track workers and small businesses aren't in it for the money, because, frankly, it just isn't there. They don't come close to be monetarily compensated for the early mornings, long days, and hard, often dangerous work.
Being involved with Pimlico Race Course may not get these people or businesses rich, but it is, for this group of Baltimoreans, a labor of love.