Magna Awaits Approval to Purchase Lone Star Park

By Raymond V. Whelan
Magna Entertainment Corp. is still waiting for the green light from the Texas Racing Commission to acquire ownership of Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie. A background check by the Texas Department of Public Safety is under way.

Judith Kennison, general counsel for the racing commission, said the investigation probably would be completed in about two months, and that the commission may consider approval of the Lone Star sale at its October meeting.

MEC entered into an agreement in March with Lone Star Park Ltd., the partnership that developed and operates the racetrack, and LSJC Development Corp. to acquire Lone Star Park for $80 million, and assume a capital lease obligation of approximately $19 million and other liabilities. The terms of the agreement stipulate MEC would acquire the racing assets of Lone Star Park, while Lone Star Park Ltd. will retain certain non-racing assets.

Magna currently owns and operates more than 10 racetracks in North America, including Santa Anita Park, Bay Meadows, and Golden Gate Fields in California, and Gulfstream Park in Florida. MEC also recently entered into a $117.5-million deal with Joe and Karin De Francis to own and operate Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course in Maryland.

Lone Star Park is slated to receive $2.9 million from the Grand Prairie Sports Corp. for facility improvements the track must make before it hosts the 2004 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships.