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Category: Sports

Racing Commission O.K.s Magna Deal; Shareholders Appeal

On Monday, April 26, the bankruptcy judge approved the Magna Entertainment Corporation’s “reorganization plan” to transfer ownership of Maryland’s race tracks to its parent company, MI Development. On Thursday, Apri 29, Racing Commission approved transfer of Laurel & Pimlico racing licenses to the “new” owner, who promised to balance the books within two years. MID reported to the courts that the Maryland Thoroughbred operations (which include the Bowie training track and the Preakness) lose about $11 million a year. Also on Thursday, April 29, shareholders of Magna filed an appeal protesting the bankruptcy judge’s approval of the transfer to MID, noting that shareholders receive nothing in the transfer. In Monday’s hearing, attorneys for the shareholders argued that, by not allowing the tracks to go to bankruptcy auction, Magna and MID are hiding the true value of the properties, and shareholders are not being fairly treated. Maryland-bred Homeboykris to run in today’s Kentucky Derby! Read more on May Equiery now in stores; new ads now...

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Racetrack Reorg Approval Hearing: State Happy, Shareholders & Others Not Happy

This week, the courts heard testimony regarding Magna Entertainment Corporation’s plan to have its parent company, MI Development, purchase its assets (including Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park) out of bankruptcy. The courts must approve the reorganization plan before it can go forward. Several hurdles to approval have materialized, including shareholder opposition and a plan to have Penn National Gaming operate slots at Laurel Park (should they ever get approved for slots). However, whether Penn National could legally operate those casinos when they already have an interest in slots in Cecil County remains to be determined. Also questioned during the hearing was how sincere Magna’s effort had been to obtain a stalking horse bid on the properties. Shareholders were represented by an attorney who questioned MID’s business plan for the tracks, noting that the plan published what the company considered to be the value of the land, but not the value or business potential of the tracks themselves, noting that the company has not even attempted to estimate the value of the Preakness as a business asset. However, Magna did say that the MID contract would include language confirming that the state of Maryland will have the first right of refusal should the MID ever attempt, in the future, to sell the tracks. Closing arguments will be heard Monday, April 26. To read more: Daily Record report on Tuesday,...

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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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