Magna Entertainment is on the move again, this time in Missouri, where pari-mutuel wagering is legal but no racetracks have been built. A bill co-sponsored by nine legislators has been introduced in the House and Senate, where it could be discussed this week. The legislation spells out the powers of the racing commission, a requirement that at least 50 days of live racing be held, and a mandate that a capital investment of at least $25 million be made to build a track.
Magna Entertainment has completed a deal to acquire an account wagering system, The Meadows harness track, four off-track betting parlors, and an 18% interest in The Racing Network for $53 million in cash, stock, and a promissory note.
Red Bullet, winner of the Preakness Stakes last year, has started back in light training at owner Frank Stronach's Adena Springs Farm in Ocala, and could be ready to return to the races by August at Saratoga. Farm trainer Danny Vella said the son of Unbridled is coming along great after suffering what was believed to be a hairline fracture last summer.
Real estate developer Tom Moyer bought the operating rights for Portland Meadows, Oregon's largest racetrack. The change, however, does not bring much stability to the state's Thoroughbred racing industry.
Belinda Stronach, the 34-year-old daughter of Magna International chairman Frank Stronach, has been named chief executive officer and vice chairwoman of the company. Magna International reported a 6% decline in fourth-quarter earnings from the year-earlier period. Revenue climbed 6%.
Magna Entertainment, the racetrack company chaired by owner-breeder Frank Stronach, reported Monday a net loss of $9.2 million during the fourth quarter of 2000. For the year, the company reported net income of $441,000 on revenue of $413.6 million. The fiscal year profit was a reversal from 2000, when Magna posted a $62,000 loss; the 2000 fourth quarter loss was $3-million.
Stronach Stable's Macho Uno will not make it to the May 5 Kentucky Derby (gr. I), but he will not require surgery to get back to the racetrack. Last year's 2-year-old champion and Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner apparently is sore from bone-density immaturity.
With a spending plan in place for 2001, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and the Breeders' Cup now are looking closely at the efficiencies of an Oregon wagering hub operated by NTRA Services. The Friday meeting in South Florida marked the first for a new 15-member board. Magna Entertainment's Jim McAlpine sat in for Magna chairman Frank Stronach, who missed what would have been his first board meeting.
Magna Entertainment's stock dropped 10% Monday, the first day of trading following a company announcement that fourth quarter losses would be greater than anticipated.
Before heading to New Orleans to accept his four Eclipse Awards, Frank Stronach paid another visit to Dixon, Calif., a possible location for the new home of Bay Meadows.
Last week, Stronach requested a meeting with new Dixon Mayor Mary Ann Courville and Vice Mayor Gil Vega to pitch his dream track again. "It was a very good meeting, productive and friendly," said Dixon city manager Warren Salmons. "They rolled out a plan for us to look at . They wanted to let us know that they're still seriously interested."
On a night of comedic one-liners, most of them from the hilarious emcee, Kenny Mayne, National Thoroughbred Racing Association commissioner Tim Smith said the single phrase most of the 500 people attending Tuesday's 30th annual Eclipse Awards dinner at the Saenger Theatre in New Orleans, La., were waiting to hear. When he opened the envelope containing the name of the Horse of the Year for 2000, Smith said simply: "Congratulations California, it's Tiznow."
Love him or hate him, no one can begrudge industry maverick Frank Stronach his outstanding year at the track.
The goal of any breeder is to breed a horse that wins a major race. Frank Stronach's vast Adena Springs operation did just that and then some in 2000.
- By Dan Liebman
By Dan Liebman -- When Macho Uno made his first three starts last year, he was a 2-year-old colt by Holy Bull bred in Kentucky by Stronach Stables. When Perfect Sting made her first 18 starts, she was a filly by Red Ransom bred in Kentucky by Frank H. Stronach. But when each won a Breeders' Cup race at Churchill Downs last Nov. 4, something had changed.
Last fall, most horses bred by Frank Stronach in his name or that of Stronach Stables were changed to have the breeder listed as Adena Springs. The change pushed Adena Springs to second on the year-end list of leading breeders with $9,929,737, behind Harry T. Mangurian Jr., who bred the earners of $10,757,845 in 2000. The list, compiled by The Jockey Club Information Systems, is for North American-based horses only.
Ten days after a private meeting with several members of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association board of directors and three days after holding an open forum at Gulfstream Park, Magna Entertainment chairman Frank Stronach announced Wednesday in a joint statement with the NTRA that the Magna racetracks will be rejoining the NTRA with a two-year commitment, effective immediately.
A joint statement from Magna Entertainment Corp., and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, announces Magna's decision to rejoin the NTRA with a two-year commitment after the NTRA has committed to changes in how the organization is governed.
Though he made no commitment to rejoin the National Thoroughbred Racing Association during a Sunday morning forum, Magna Entertainment chairman Frank Stronach said he'll be back in if the NTRA and Breeders' Cup, now joined in a strategic partnership, pledge to democratically elect officers. Stronach also indicated he would be willing to represent Magna on the NTRA board should his tracks rejoin.
Magna Entertainment Corp. appointed its third president and chief executive officer within a year. The Magna board appointed Jim McAlpine today as the company's president and chief executive officer. McAlpine was executive vice president of non-automotive affairs for Magna International, MEC's parent company and automotible parts manufacturing company founded by MEC chairman Frank Stronach.
A Sunday evening meeting between Magna chairman Frank Stronach and members of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association board of directors was called "constructive" and could lead to a resolution within two weeks, officials said in a joint statement released Monday. Magna's seven racetracks were among the 22 that defected from the NTRA in late October. "There was give and take on a number of topics," the statement said. "We did not agree on every issue, but...the participants confirmed their strong mutual commitment to advancing the interests of horseracing. We are optimistic about the prospects of working together in the future with Magna's racetracks as members of the NTRA."
Frank Stronach has been viewed as everything from a maverick to a bit of a tyrant in North American racing circles this past year. Just about the only place Stronach wasn't looked upon as a rogue was on the track, where even his harshest critics couldn't fault his success. From January to December, 764 starters wearing the familiar black silks with the red and gold Adena Springs Farm logo won 163 races and earned $11,198,225, giving him his third consecutive leading owner title by money won. Stronach topped the leading owner list in 1999 with $6,221,147. In 1998, he stopped a three-year streak by the late Allen Paulson with $7,221,416 in earnings.
The officials in the California city said the meeting to discuss Magna Entertainment chairman Frank Stronach's plans for Santa Anita Park went well.
Magna chairman Frank Stronach's Jan. 14 open forum to discuss the National Thoroughbred Racing Association's future "should be terminated or at least delayed" if Stronach isn't willing to establish a structure and set an agenda for the session, John Gaines told the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Manager's Club Tuesday night in Lexington.
Thoroughbred breeder John Gaines spoke to the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers Club on Jan. 2. This is part I of the transcript of that speech.
Magna Entertainment (MEC) chairman Frank Stronach said on Wednesday he has no plans to cancel the open forum he has scheduled at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 14, dismissing the suggestion made Tuesday night by breeder John Gaines in a speech at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers' Club in Lexington, Ky.
Breeder John Gaines, who delivered some pointed remarks toward Magna Entertainment chairman Frank Stronach and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association during an awards banquet in Arizona earlier this month, will be the guest speaker on Tuesday, Jan. 2, at the monthly meeting of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers' Club.
Current regulations in Palm Beach County could threaten Magna Entertainment's plans for a large South Florida training center because of the inclusion of housing for up to 500 grooms, according to a report in the Palm Beach Post.
Magna Entertainment, the growing racetrack company run by Frank Stronach, has entered into an agreement with Ladbroke Racing and a subsidiary to purchase Ladbroke's Pennsylvania-based account wagering system ("Call-A-Bet"), the Meadows harness track, and four off-track betting facilities, plus an interest in the Racing Network satellite TV channel.
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.
John R. Gaines, the man who created the Breeders' Cup and also was behind the start-up of the National Thoroughbred Association, which many believe was the impetus for the formation of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, delivered some pointed words to Magna Entertainment chairman Frank Stronach and the NTRA while accepting an award from the University of Arizona during its Racetrack Industry Program's Symposium on Racing last Thursday.
Frank Stronach's forum to discuss the major issues facing Thoroughbred racing will be Jan. 14. The forum was moved to avoid a conflict with the Keeneland mixed sale.
The head of Churchill Downs Inc., also an NTRA board member, has spearheaded the talks between the organization and the 22 racetracks that said they wouldn't renew their memberships.
Magna Entertainment chairman Frank Stronach, in an open letter to the Thoroughbred industry, has made recommendations for a revised National Thoroughbred Racing Association board of directors, and also has called for a public forum for all members of the industry to discuss the NTRA's future.
Magna Entertainment chairman Frank Stronach recently said Magna's racetracks would withdraw their membership from the National Thoroughbred Racing Association at the end of the year, joining 15 other tracks, including a coalition from the Mid-Atlantic region. Stronach took exception to a subsequent editorial in the Nov. 4 edition of The Blood-Horse suggesting he had "turned his back" on fellow owners and breeders through his decision, and he requested an opportunity to explain his position. He was interviewed by editor-in-chief Ray Paulick during the Keeneland sales on Nov. 8.
Despite the recent announcement that 22 racetracks intended to defect from the organization at the end of this year, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association said Thursday it maintains a solid core and will proceed with programs it considers key to the future success of the industry.
Magna Entertainment chairman Frank Stronach went two-for-three as a Thoroughbred owner in Saturday's Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs with a couple of nail-biting finishes. But the real drama unfolded in the winner's circle after the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), when Stronach was presented a trophy by National Thoroughbred Racing Association commissioner Tim Smith.
A meeting has been scheduled for Nov. 9 between Churchill Downs president Tom Meeker and representatives of 22 racetracks that have or will defect from the National Thoroughbred Racing Association as of Dec. 31. The 22 member tracks account for almost $2.5 million in annual NTRA dues.
From the West Coast to the East Coast, Frank Stronach is looking to increase his Magna Entertainment holdings.
A wrap-up of daily items of interest.
Racing and breeding news and information.
The price of Magna Entertainment's stock continued its recent spiral.
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