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Category: Sports

Roadblocks for Rosecroft; All Calm-for the moment-on the Thoroughbred Front

The Maryland Thoroughbred Industry As the Preakness draws near, all is (more or less) quiet on the Maryland Thoroughbred front, once it was determined that the new owner of the flat tracks is the old owner. The only “new” Thoroughbred racing news relates to slots. On April 1, the Anne Arundel County Board of Elections certified the signatures gathered on the petition to require a county referendum to approve slots at the site owned by the Cordish Companies near Arundel Mills.   According to the Daily Record, the Board validated only 22,967 signatures, and invalidated 17,441 – but the 22, 967 were enough to push the issue to a referendum. The Maryland Jockey Club helped to finance the petition drive. Click here for more information. In the meantime, the State has given the green light for acquisition of the actual slot machines. Roadblocks for Rosecroft Meanwhile, Maryland’s Standardbred industry remains in the news. Will legislators legalize poker at Rosecroft? The session closes tonight…check out what the Baltimore Sun has to say. The Daily Record reports that “a bankruptcy judge has denied the proposed sale of Rosecroft Raceway to developer Mark Vogel, calling it a ‘sell out’ that’s unfair to the track’s creditors and the harness racing industry. The track’s owners must instead sell Rosecroft through a traditional Chapter 11 reorganization plan…[track] owner Cloverleaf Enterprises Inc. notified its employees and shareholders...

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April 5 Update: Maryland Legislation impacting Horse Industry

The 2010 Maryland legislative session is quickly coming to close (April 12). Below is an “as of April 5, 2010” update on bills that we have tracked in our print edition; updates appear in italics. Please e-mail comments to To view more information about specific legislation, please visit Maryland General Assembly. EQUINE INDUSTRY SPECIFIC LEGISLATION SB 62: Making MHIB Self-Funded The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) requested this bill that would increase the fees for licensing and inspecting horse stables and will direct the revenue collected from these fees into the Maryland Horse Industry Fund.  This increase will help the Maryland Horse Industry Board meet increased costs associated with stable inspections. The Maryland Horse Council supported this bill, lest legislators decide to keep the stable inspection fees in the general fund, but cut MHIB’s general fund allocation, which would then make the MHIB rely on the feed fund program. This is problematic because the feed fund was intended to provide funding for marketing programs and grants, not underwrite the stable inspection program. This bill passed the Senate on a vote of 34-9 and was duly assigned to the House Environmental Matters Committee, which heard the bill on March 31. Members of both the Maryland Horse Council and the Maryland Horse Industry Board spoke in support of the bill. The chairman of the Committee asked the representative present for...

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Magna/MID Announces 3 Year Plan for Laurel, Bowie & Pimlico

MI Developments Inc. (“MID”) (TSX: MIM.A, MIM.B; NYSE: MIM) announced that the Plan of Reorganization in respect of Magna Entertainment Corp. (“MEC”) and certain of its subsidiaries, jointly proposed by MEC, MID and the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of MEC (the “Creditors Committee”), was amended to provide for the transfer of Maryland Jockey Club (“MJC”) to MID.  The original Plan, including the litigation settlement to be implemented by the Plan, was announced by MID on January 11, 2010. Rather than being sold by MEC pursuant to an auction as originally contemplated, MJC will form part of the assets of MEC that are to be transferred to MID under the amended Plan.  In return for the transfer of MJC, MID will pay the secured and unsecured claims of MJC creditors to the extent allowed or agreed in an estimated amount of US$23 million to US$25 million.  The amended Plan also provides that the amount to be paid by MID to the non-MJC unsecured creditors of MEC pursuant to the Plan will be increased from US$75 million to US$89 million. Dennis Mills, MID’s Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, stated “We are excited about the development opportunities represented by the land owned by MJC. The land is comprised of 565 acres in three major properties well located in the greater Baltimore-Washington area.” The acquisition of MJC by MID will be subject...

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It’s Over – No Auction, No New Track Owners

It’s over. For Cordish, it is over. For the De Francis family, it is over. For the Blow Horn Equity Group, for Penn National, it is over. And for many Maryland horsemen, the hope of new ownership of our Thoroughbred tracks is over – at least for the foreseeable future. Today, Magna Entertainment Corporation – or rather its parent company, MI Developments, will remain the owner of the Maryland Jockey Club, Laurel, Pimlico and the Preakness.  Today, shortly after Magna worked out a deal to settle a lawsuit by its unsecured creditors (which include the De Francis family), MID announced it would buy the Maryland assets out of bankruptcy – surprising everyone, including the De Francises, who were still intending on bidding on the tracks.  So, the more things change, the more they stay the same. For more in depth coverage, please visit Baltimore Sun: Magna, former track owners OK settlement, Auction Next Baltimore Sun: Auction Canceled, Parent company to acquire Maryland tracks Daily Record’s AP...

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Could This Finally Be THE Week? Horsemen Hold Their Breath

The bankruptcy auction for Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course is scheduled for this Thursday, March 25, 2010. Will it really happen? It has already been postponed four times. Also set for March 25 is the deadline for the certification of the 22,000+ signatures submitted to the Anne Arundel County Board of Elections to require the slots zoning for the Arundel Mills site be determined by a referendum in November. Meanwhile, the developer of the Arundel Mills site, the Cordish Companies (via their PPE Casino Resorts Maryland LLF entity) is suing the Board of Election, citing fraud in the collection of the signatures. But the drama doesn’t stop there! Adding to the chaos is a new lawsuit by the signature gathering groups, Stop Slots at Arundel Mills, Citizens Against Slots at the Mall, and the Maryland Jockey Club are suing Cordish (PPE Casino Resorts Maryland, LLC) for a frivolous lawsuit. We will refrain from banging our heads against the wall until March 26. Stop Slots Sue Cordish, Maryland Daily Record Stop Slots Sue Cordish, Baltimore Sun Baltimore Sun Reminds Us That We Are Our Own Worst Enemy – Like We Need To Be...

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Magna Granted Another Extension

Magna Granted Another Extension Over the objections of PNC Bank, which owns the loans on the Maryland race tracks, the Delaware bankruptcy judge in the Magna Entertainment Corporation’s bankruptcy case has granted an extension, requested by Magna, for the completion of its Chapter 11 reorganization plan and fulfillment of its quest for additional financing.  The new deadline is April 30. Daily Record Report Baltimore Sun Report Meanwhile, horsemen wait for the oft-delayed auction of the Magna-owned Maryland Jockey Club (which owns Laurel Park, Pimlico Race Course and the Preakness), currently scheduled for March 25. But horsemen have grown asthmatic holding their collective breath. Meanwhile, nerves continue to fray and tempers flare.  Jonathan Cordish, vice president of The Cordish Cos. (which own the slots-approved site near Arundel Mills Mall and have expressed interest in bidding for the Maryland tracks), told the Daily Record’s Liz Farmer in an e-mail “that Magna’s delays ‘make it clear’ the auction is being run solely for the benefit of its parent, MI Developments… ‘The Jockey Club has deliberately misled the public and the horse racing industry to ensure that MID will not lose the very assets they ruined…it was clear as each auction approached that we would be the high bidder and not MID or one of its cronies, so they have been delayed again and again. As a result, the Preakness will continue to be an...

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