The owners of Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie agreed Wednesday to sell the horse track to Magna Entertainment Corp. for about $100 million.
Gulfstream Park chairman Doug Donn visited Palm Meadows, the training facility being constructed by the track's parent company, Magna Entertainment Corp., on Feb. 22 and said he was pleased with its progress. The site is located 55 miles north of Gulfstream in Boynton Beach, Fla.
- By Tom LaMarra
Legislation that would mandate three distinct seasons of Thoroughbred racing in South Florida has been introduced in the House by Rep. Rene Garcia, whose district includes Hialeah Park. Another bill introduced by Garcia calls for statutory changes related to racing dates.
Churchill Downs made a serious attempt in recent weeks to acquire Pimlico and Laurel Park in Maryland. The deal fell apart, however, over issues of control.
Youbet.com has been licensed by the California Horse Racing Board to offer account-wagering services to residents of California, effective immediately. Meanwhile, through Feb. 18, account-wagering handle through two other systems topped $5 million in the Golden State.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has named Ray Casey, who directed the city's Trade Waste Commission, to head New York City Off-Track Betting Corp., the New York Post reported Feb. 21. Bloomberg also said the city wouldn't sell the betting corporation, at least for now.
- By Tom Precious
Despite plans by the new mayor of New York City to delay the sale of New York City Off-Track Betting Corp., the head of the New York Racing Association said he will make a new pitch to purchase the lucrative corporation.
Jim Gagliano, executive vice president and general manager at Philadelphia Park, will leave that post Feb. 22 to take a job with Magna Entertainment. Gagliano will head Magna's off-track betting operations.
Magna Entertainment reported a 28% gain in fourth quarter revenue, but losses in net income and earnings per share for the three-month period ending Dec. 31. For the year, the Canadian racing conglomerate reported a 25.5% increase in revenue, a jump in net income from $441,000 to $13.5 million, and an increase in diluted earnings per share from 1 cents to 16 cents.
The Thoroughbred Owners of California is using a deal with Magna Entertainment as leverage in an attempt to garner a greater share of pari-mutuel takeout from account wagers made through the TV Games Network. In question is a share of the money TVG pays to the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.
An offer by Magna Entertainment to buy Lone Star Park in North Texas could be made within two weeks, according to a Feb. 9 report by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Despite not being able to take bets on the two California Thoroughbred tracks currently operating, the Television Games Network said it is running neck and neck with competing account wagering entity XpressBet on total telephone and Internet handle for the first 12 days of legal advance deposit wagering (ADW) by California residents.
A new network to telecast horse races was unveiled Friday by Magna Entertainment Corp., Roberts Communications Network, Inc., and Greenwood Racing, Inc. The service effectively replaces the former satellite served called The Racing Network, which ceased operations last year after failing to sign up enough customers.
Magna Entertainment stock hit a new 52-week high of $10.25 Friday morning. The Canadian racing conglomerate stock price has been on a steady march upward since mid-January when it was trading for around $7 per share. Churchill Downs and Penn National keep trading at a premium on the heels of a Bear Stearns report on account wagering.
- By Tom LaMarra
The New York Racing Association has ended dark-day simulcasting at Aqueduct, and its chairman, Barry Schwartz, targeted the product at Gulfstream Park as the main reason for the move. The president of Gulfstream disagrees with Schwartz's assessment of the product.
- By Tom LaMarra
In an open letter to the California Thoroughbred industry, Thoroughbred Owners of California chairman Jack Owens said the organization has taken its "stewardship role very seriously" in regard to account wagering, and said its agreement with Magna Entertainment is a "critical benchmark" for negotiations with other companies.
The current meet at Portland Meadows in Oregon will end Feb. 10--36 days before its scheduled conclusion--in light of an ongoing problem with surface-water removal at the racetrack.
Magna Entertainment Corp. said it would pay a racetrack partner in its new XpressBet account wagering system up to 60% of the takeout if the bet is placed with a 25-mile radius of that track.
XpressBet, Magna Entertainment's revamped Internet and telephone service for in-home wagering, was "overwhelmed" by applications from prospective customers during its launch Jan. 26-27, a top company official said.
- By Tom Precious
The new mayor of New York City left open the prospect that he may still proceed with the sale of New York City Off-Track Betting Corp., a deal some of his aides are pushing him to make to raise money for the deficit-ridden city. But whether he will proceed with the sale of the $1-billion betting empire that was begun by his predecessor, Rudolph Giuliani, remains a question.
The California Horse Racing Board has granted licenses to two companies to offer account wagering effective immediately, and betting will begin. But the licenses are time-sensitive, and some deals with horsemen remain in limbo.
Andy Stronach, son of Magna Entertainment founder Frank Stronach, has left his father's racing conglomerate to focus on a new company that will manufacture a self-service pari-mutuel teller for novice bettors.
At the invitation of The Blood-Horse, each of the four license applicants seeking to offer Advance Deposit Wagering in California was asked to provide a brief statement concerning their applications. With the exception of Youbet.com, which declined to submit a statement, the responses can be viewed at the following links.
Applications from four companies seeking to offer Advance Deposit Wagering, or account wagering, in California will be considered by the California Horse Racing Board Thursday, Jan. 24. The regulations were approved by the state last Friday, allowing the CHRB to proceed with consideration of the applications from Autotote Enterprises Inc., Magna Entertainment Corporation, ODS Technologies (TVG), and Youbet.com. At the invitation of The Blood-Horse, each of the four license applicants was asked to provide a brief statement concerning their proposal for account wagering in California. Here is the response from Magna Entertainment:
Applications from four companies seeking to offer account wagering in California will be considered by the California Horse Racing Board on Jan. 24.
With the California Horse Racing Board only days from ruling on four applications for license to conduct advance deposit wagering, it isn't clear where three of the state's major tracks -- Santa Anita Park, Bay Meadows, and Golden Gate Fields -- are going to have their races televised.
Dixon Downs may not be on the fast track, but it's making steady progress toward ground-breaking. That's the report from the front lines in Dixon, the small California town 20 miles west of Sacramento where Magna Entertainment Corp. is hard at work developing a state-of-the-art racetrack.
- By Scott Davis
An eight-race, $5 million series of races for California- and Florida-bred horses has been approved by the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association, the California Thoroughbred Breeders' Association and Magna Entertainment Corp., at whose tracks the races would be run. The plan, however, may face a challenge from the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association.
- By Ray Paulick
Talks between Magna Entertainment and the TV Games Network are over, according to TVG president Mark Wilson, who has been negotiating with Magna chief executive officer James McAlpine in hopes of striking a deal to bring Santa Anita, Gulfstream Park, and other Magna tracks to TVG's racing and wagering network.
Gulfstream Park received permission Tuesday to conduct round-the-clock construction on a new grandstand as soon as its meet ends April 24.
Magna Entertainment is moving forward with its plans to recreate Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Fla. The plans include specialty shops and entertainment facilities.
Magna Entertainment Corp. will revive The Racing Network early next year, according to company chairman and founder Frank Stronach. The live racing network will likely be reintroduced when MEC launches its account wagering service in California.
- By Tom LaMarra
The majority owner of a growing account-wagering service based in Ohio said exclusive contracts that govern betting could cripple the pari-mutuel industry at a time when it is poised for explosive growth. The comments came on the heels of a spirited debate between the TV Games Network and Magna Entertainment over exclusivity, an issue that won't go away.
The clock ticks for the arrival of account wagering in California, and it may keep ticking well into the new year. The earliest the state's racing fans can expect to be able to open accounts and begin telephone or Internet wagering is mid-February 2002, but depending on how well the regulatory review process goes, wagering might not occur until some time in May.
Mark Wilson, president and CEO of TVG, has issued a lengthy statement in response to widely-reported comments made by Jim McAlpine, President and CEO of Magna Entertainment Corporation, at the University of Arizona's Race Track Industry Program's "Symposium on Racing."
Magna Entertainment president Jim McAlpine told racing industry leaders Thursday that their best chance to compete against Las Vegas and Disney, which he says are horse racing's true competitors, is by making industrywide deregulation and the adoption of free enterprise a top priority. And as Magna prepares to launch its own online and telephone account wagering service in California, McAlpine urged TVG to abandon its exclusive contracts with racetracks and merge its content with Magna's tracks and others.
Magna Entertainment president Jim McAlpine told racing industry leaders Thursday that their best chance to compete against Las Vegas and Disney, which he says are horse racing's true competitors, is by making industrywide deregulation and the adoption of free enterprise a top priority.
Environmentalists notified Portland Meadows on Nov. 27 that they intend to sue the racetrack for illegally discharging manure into the Columbia Slough. An official with Magna Entertainment, which owns the Oregon racetrack's operating rights, called the lawsuit unfair and said the company has been working closely with the Environmental Protection Agency since assuming control in May.
Will Nevada-style gambling come to California racetracks soon? Not likely, said the president of the Federation of California Racetracks, Jack Liebau, who offered only lukewarm interest for a state gambling initiative that would allow racetracks to offer a full range of Las Vegas-style games, including slot machines.
With the possibility of account wagering in California as soon as Jan. 1, officials at Magna Entertainment Corp., the owner of three major racetracks in the state, is keeping its plans quiet -- for now.
Numbers in most categories were up during the Oak Tree Racing Association meet that concluded Nov. 5 at Santa Anita Park. Total, in-state, and out-of-state handle were up from the corresponding meet in 2000.
Magna Entertainment showed some improvement during the third quarter ending Sept. 30, historically the company's weakest period of the year. Revenue for the Ontario-based racing conglomerate increased 31.1% for the quarter and 24.9% for the first nine months of the year.
There will be little change in the Michigan racing calendar in 2002 under a schedule authorized Oct. 31 by Annette Bacola, the state's racing commissioner.
In a ceremony highlighted by Frank Stronach wearing a hard hat and wielding a shovel, Magna Entertainment Corp. officially broke ground on its new South Florida Thoroughbred training facility Tuesday.
Magna Entertainment has completed its acquisition of Multnomah Greyhound Park in Portland, Ore. The racing conglomerate controlled by Frank Stronach has acquired the operations of Multnomah Greyhound Park for $5.97 million.
- By Tom Precious
New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani is urging state lawmakers and the governor to approve his plan to sell the New York City Off-Track Betting Corp. to a Magna Entertainment-led consortium as a way to raise much-needed revenues in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Magna officials will be the special guests at a community meeting Oct. 17 in Dixon, a town of about 15,000 located 19 miles west of Sacramento. Magna recently purchased 225 acres in Dixon for $6.3 million and has another 25-acre parcel in escrow.
The possibility that Hialeah Park may not open its stable area for the upcoming season threatens to change the landscape of winter racing along the East Coast.
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