Magna Entertainment chairman and interim president Frank Stronach is taking racing by storm, and nowhere is his presence more visible than in California. His company owns Santa Anita Park and both of the major tracks in Northern California. He is proposing a new, state-of-the-art track on 225 acres in Dixon, Calif. to replace Bay Meadows.
According to the Sacramento Bee,
Stronach's California moves and attempt to influence the country's racing industry have drawn both praise and criticism.
"He has cut a wide swath as a man of strong will and strong opinions," the Bee
reported in a Sunday feature. "From the barns to the Turf Club, no one around the track -- any track -- is neutral about Frank Stronach.
"I really have been tremendously impressed by his involvement in racing and his willingness to put money into theses facilities," said Roy Wood Jr., executive director of the California Horse Racing Board. "He's a horseman at heart. I like his 'put your money where your mouth is' attitude and his creativity: We need people like him. He offers a lot of positives."
On the other hand, Stronach's ongoing battle with the NTRA could jeopardize the chances that any of his tracks will host the Breeders' Cup championship day races, which can only be held at NTRA-member tracks.
"What he's doing is destroying racing in California," trainer Julio Canani was quoted by the Bee.
"How can you say you don't want the Breeders' Cup? What team in baseball doesn't want the World Series?"
(Full story, Sacramento Bee