J. Terrence Lanni, retired chairman of the board and chief executive officer of MGM Mirage and a member of the board of directors of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club since 2001, died the evening of July 14 at his home in Pasadena, Calif.
Lanni, 68, had fought a long battle with cancer and was under hospice care when he passed quietly surrounded by family.
He joined MGM Grand Inc. June 1, 1995, as CEO and a member of the board of directors. In July 1995 he was named chairman and CEO, and in May 2000 oversaw the acquisition of Mirage Resorts by MGM Grand Inc., which created MGM Mirage, the Las Vegas-based entertainment, hotel, and gaming giant. He retired in November 2008.
Lanni’s horse racing background dated to his years in graduate school when was partners with a brother and sister in Greenhill Stable, which had claiming horses with L.J. Brooks and Charles Comiskey. Lanni’s father, Anthony, also bred and raced in California before his death in 1969.
The owner of several stakes winners, Lanni was co-owner of 1999 Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) winner Silic , and Ladies Din, eighth in the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Mile. Ladies Din, trained by Julio Canani, was Del Mar’s 1998 horse of the meeting following a sweep of the major 3-year-old stakes, taking a division of the Oceanside Stakes, the La Jolla Handicap (gr. III), and the Del Mar Derby (gr. II). Two years later Ladies Din won the Shoemaker Breeders’ Cup Mile and the Eddie Read Handicap, both grade I.
This year the Lanni Family Trust has been racing Game On Dude, winner of the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) and Lone Star Derby (gr. III). The son of Awesome Again recently finished second to First Dude in the Hollywood Gold Cup Handicap (gr. I). The Lanni Family Trust races Game on Dude in partnership with Mercedes Stable, Diamond Pride, and Bernie Schiappa.
A native of Los Angeles and graduate of the University of Southern California, Lanni received the Alumnus of the Year Award from the school in 1992. He served on the board of trustees of Santa Clara University, the board of directors at K.B. Homes, and was chairman of the board of the American Gaming Association.
In October of 2000 he was inducted into the Gaming Hall of Fame, and the following January was the recipient of Casino Journal’s 2001 Lifetime Achievement Award.
“We have lost a fine man and I’ve lost a dear friend,” said Del Mar CEO, president, and general manager Joe Harper. “Terry had great insights into both the gaming business and the racing world, and we were lucky to have him on board with us this past decade. He will be dearly missed.”
Prior to his MGM tenure, Lanni served 18 years in senior executive positions with Caesars World Inc. Before joining Caesars in 1977, Lanni was treasurer of the California-based Republic Corporation.
Funeral and memorial service plans are pending.