Jessica Chapel / Railbird

The Brink

Maryland Mess

John Scheinman has a full report in the Thoroughbred Times on the apparently imminent end of Maryland racing. Here’s the kicker:

Asked if he believed the Preakness would be run next year, commission chairman Louis Ulman said, “I’d say no.”

That state is exploring all its legal options for saving racing dates and the Preakness Stakes. “That could involve seizing the tracks by eminent domain.”

10:30 AM Update: MTHA general counsel Alan Foreman tells the Blood-Horse: “This needs to be solved in the next 48 hours …

11:55 AM Update: Tentative agreement reached? That’s what Maryland governor Martin O’Malley’s office is telling reporters. (Confirmed. Details TK.)

12/23/10 Update: As Frank of That’s Amore Stable mentioned in a comment below, a compromise deal was reached on Wednesday. The Preakness has been saved; 146 days of racing have been scheduled for 2011. One aspect of the agreement that should please horseplayers is this — horsemen won’t be compelled to lobby for takeout increases, as MID-Penn was demanding earlier.

More from the Baltimore Sun: “The governor’s deal puts racing on life support for at least a year, but it doesn’t change an obviously poisonous ownership structure for the tracks that imperils racing’s long-term viability.”