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 embarrassment to the horse racing industry and our state.’”

The Cordish Companies, are now suing the Anne Arundel Board of Elections (see Washington Post article), citing fraud in the “stop slots” petition signatures gathered with the help of the Maryland Jockey Club in an effort to block the Cordish effort to build a slots parlor near Arundel Mills Mall (please see News Feed archives for background on this effort). Final verification of the signatures by the Board is due today, March 8, 2010. 

Not surprisingly, former track owner and potential bidder on Laurel and Pimlico, Joe DeFrancis fires back against Cordish in Liz Farmer’s Daily Record article: “I think Cordish is pulling out all the stops,” De Francis said. “I sincerely believe that if that license ends up at the mall, Laurel has no future as a racetrack.”

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports on gloomy prospects of current slots efforts.

Horsemen? Tired, spent, disgusted…worn out.

“Maryland has a really long storied history, explained Maryland Horse Breeders Association’s Executive Director Cricket Goodall to the Daily Record’s Liz Farmer; “But history doesn’t pay the bills.”

 In Other Racing & Betting Related Headline News

The Daily Record reports that the slots commission asks the legislature to consider eliminating current law that limits potential owner of a slots facility to ownership of only one such facility in the State.

Oh, and PG ponders poker at Rosecroft.