Whenever Frank Stronach floated one of his grand ideas about the Preakness Stakes that could stand tradition and the Triple Crown on their heads, Tim Capps always was my first call as a reporter.
The initial and most succinct answer by Capps, who has died, was something to the effect of, “Frank will have trouble doing that.” That’s because it’s basically Maryland law that the Preakness be run in Maryland at Pimlico Race Course and moving it, even to Laurel Park, would be rife with political intrigue in Baltimore and, more importantly, Annapolis.
Tim was an instructor in the University of Louisville’s equine business program and then its director. His resume included being an author and journalist, so he knew what reporters wanted. But it also was a roadmap to the war stories of the Maryland Jockey Club, now a Stronach property and the owner of its tracks, Pimlico and Laurel. He worked for the MJC under different owners and with Maryland’s thoroughbred breeders’ group.
After the initial answer, he’d educate me for an hour — often more — on the intricacies and politics and, sometimes, parochialism of Maryland racing that he experienced working in all facets of the industry. All of which were fascinating but usually too much for a newspaper article.
His death is a tremendous loss for UofL, its students, reporters of the business of racing and the sport itself.