Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Magna and Maryland

In an effort to reduce a heavy debt load, Magna Entertainment Corp. officials plan to put up “for sale” signs on some holdings, maybe some in Maryland. In a special Tuesday teleconference presentation for stockholders and analysts, Magna Chief Executive Officer Michael Neuman said the racetrack owner will evaluate its assets and consider sales of several properties.

Magna Entertainment Chairman Frank Stronach started Tuesday’s teleconference by saying Magna, which owns the Maryland Jockey Club (which owns Laurel Park, Pimlico Race Course, and The Bowie Training Center) is committed to cutting debt in 2007. Magna incurred a net loss of $87.4-million in 2006.

Neuman said Magna would be interested in selling the 162-acre Bowie Training Center in Maryland if an agreement could be reached with state horsemen and officials. As for Magna’s two Maryland racetracks, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, Neuman said the company would like to see more support from state lawmakers, meaning approval of alternative gaming.
“One would hope [racing] can take place [in Maryland] for a long, long time to come. But look, we’re in business to make money and Maryland is surrounded by states that enable tracks to offer alternative gaming,” Neuman said. “Those tracks are using that money to increase purses and that is attracting horsemen out of the state.”
"It’s not enough for Magna to say, ‘Gee, we love racing in Maryland and would like to see it continue forever and ever, amen.’ The state of Maryland has to decide that they want racing to be profitable in Maryland.”
I don't know who would be interested in buying the Magna assets in Maryland, but I sure would like to see some improvements!


Alan H. said...

Magna (the parent auto parts company) is rumored to be in negotiations to buy Chrysler. I can see the advertising now, "Buy a leftover Dodge Durango and get a choice of 0% financing or a cover of your mare by Giacomo."

Tote Board Brad said...

i think it's all about state lawmakers. they just don't value racing and are willing to lose it. not even the land use and open space arguments seem to sway them. Would you rather live near a thoroughbred farm than another office park or strip mall? Appearantly the power brokers choose strip mall & office park.

How long can magna wait? Not much longer, imho. I think they'll transfer the Preakness to another state. Maybe Lonestar in Texas, if they can get slots there, or even Gulfstream or Santa Anita given a change of racing dates. It would be very sad, but don't think it can't happen. The real tragedy is that the Maryland Legislature doesn't care.


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