Magna Plans to Satisfy Agreement with Maryland Commission

Magna Entertainment Corp. and the Maryland Racing Commission are working on a document that would satisfy Magna's agreement to spend $5 million on upgrades at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course by Aug. 31, said Mike Hopkins, executive director of the commission.

Magna executives have been told during the commissions past two monthly meeting any of the $5 million not spent by the deadline must be put in an escrow account for future improvements. Hopkins told the commission at its July 23 meeting Magna lawyers expected to have a satisfactory document in time for its next meeting Aug. 21.

"I am completely confident we can produce evidence to satisfy the commission that the money has been spent or is being spent," said Joe DeFrancis, president and chief executive officer of the Maryland Jockey Club.

Magna plans to spend $46 million on the first phase of construction, which would focus on Laurel Park and include new stables and a training track.

Also at the meeting, Lou Raffetto Jr., chief operating officer of the Maryland Jockey Club, told commissioners five stakes worth $50,000 apiece (Lite the Fuse, Ta Wee, Thirty Eight Go Go, Walter Haight, and Carousel) have been cut from Laurel's fall meet.

Combined with cuts already made at the summer Laurel and Pimlico meets, the purse fund has lost about $400,000, Raffetto said.