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Pimlico to lose 6,670 seats for Preakness at aging track

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BALTIMORE — The northern grandstand at Pimlico Race Course has significantly deteriorated and will be closed for the Preakness in May.

The Stronach Group said Saturday that the northern grandstand adjacent to the clubhouse is the oldest section of seating at 125 years. Its capacity of 6,670 fans is no longer suitable to sustain that level of load bearing weight.

TSG, which owns Pimlico, says the closure will be in effect for the entire Pimlico spring meeting, which includes the Preakness May 18.

That section represents nearly 47% of the approximately 14,000 seats in Pimlico’s clubhouse, main grandstand, old grandstand and sports palace and make up about 17.5% of the overall seated capacity of nearly 38,000 people, according to the track’s website.

An additional 82,000 people are estimated to fit in standing room and infield areas.

A recent Maryland Stadium Authority study found that Pimlico itself had “reached the end of its useful life.”

That prompted the Maryland Jockey Club to hire an independent engineering firm to access the track.

Bill Hecht, in charge of U.S. real estate for TSG, says it’s “deeply disappointing” for the Maryland Jockey Club to have to close that area.

Tickets sold in the affected section for the Preakness can be traded in at face value for similar seating elsewhere.

Rafael Bejarano rides 4,000th winner at Santa Anita

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ARCADIA, Calif. — Jockey Rafael Bejarano rode his 4,000th career winner at Santa Anita.

He guided filly Portal Creek to a 3 }-length victory in the third race Saturday for trainer Bob Hess Jr.

The 36-year-old Peruvian jockey says Santa Anita has always been a special place for him. He won six races at the Southern California track in his first day riding there on April 8, 2006.

Bejarano came to the U.S. in 2002 after training at a national riding academy in Peru. He led the U.S. in victories with 455 in 2004.

He has career purse earnings of $200,611,833 and five victories in the Breeders’ Cup.

Maximum Security to race for first time since Kentucky Derby

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OCEANPORT, N.J. — Maximum Security will race this weekend for the first time since being disqualified in the Kentucky Derby.

The Jason Servis-trained colt was among six 3-year-olds entered Thursday for the $150,000 Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park on Sunday.

The 1 1/16-mile race in New Jersey will be the first in more than two months for Maximum Security. The colt galloped 1 1/8 miles here Wednesday.

In the Derby on May 2, Maximum Security got to the finish line 1}-lengths ahead of Country House. The victory was overturned 22 minutes later when the stewards disqualified the 9-2 second choice because of interference with eventual Preakness winner War of Will and other horses.

It marked the first time in the 145-year history of the Derby that the first-place finisher was disqualified for interference.