By Bill Finley
The Stronach Group, which operates Pimlico, has confirmed that the song “Maryland, My Maryland” will no longer be played before the running of the GI Preakness S. The story was first reported by the www.theracingbiz.com.
The song, which has been played at Pimlico since 1909, has stirred up controversy because its lyrics are meant to encourage Maryland to join the Confederacy. The sixth verse includes the following lines; “Dear Mother! burst the tyrant's chain, Maryland! Virginia should not call in vain, Maryland! She meets her sisters on the plain-'Sic semper!' 'tis the proud refrain.”
The song was adapted from a poem by James Ryder Randal, which called the Union “Northern scum.”
At the Preakness, only the third verse, one that is not particularly controversial, is usually played.
In the aftermath of the George Floyd death, Maryland House Speaker Adrienne Jones (D-Baltimore County) announced she would lead an effort to remove Maryland, My Maryland as the state's official song.
“The Maryland Jockey Club is respectful and supportive of Speaker Jones' move to remove 'Maryland My Maryland' as the state song, and we look forward to starting a new tradition for Preakness 145,” the Stronach Group said in a statement.
In another sign of the times, Pimlico has changed the name of the GII Dixie S. It will now be known by its original name, the Dinner Party S. The race has been run since 1870.