MID Affirms Support for California Racing

Santa Anita Park owner says actions have been misperceived

In view of the recent announcement that the Oak Tree Racing Association’s lease to conduct a fall meet at Santa Anita Park had not been renewed for 2010, MI Developments issued a statement May 18 reaffirming its support for California racing.

The statement from MID, which as of April 30 assumed racetrack and wagering company assets previously owned by bankrupt Magna Entertainment, noted that actions taken by Santa Anita concerning the Oak Tree lease "have been misperceived by the California horse racing industry, including the California Horse Racing Board, the Thoroughbred Owners of California, Breeders’ Cup, trainers and breeders in California, other racetracks in California, the California fairs, and Oak Tree. We believe that our intentions have misunderstood."

MID went on to say that to "clarify those misunderstandings and misperceptions, MID underscores that it is committed to achieving a viable and sustainable horse racing industry in California and throughout the United States by working collaboratively with all other participants in the industry, including regulators, horsemen, breeders, trainers, and other stakeholders."

The MID announcement came on the same day that Ron Charles, president of Santa Anita since 2004, announced his resignation, effective May 19.

MID said company vice chairman and CEO Dennis Mills will "immediately commence discussions" with all participants in California racing "to come up with both short-term and long-term solutions that will create a prosperous and successful California horse racing industry that will benefit all.

"MID regrets any misunderstanding within the horse racing industry," the statement continued, noting the company and MID chairman Frank Stronach have been long-time supporters of the racing industry.