Paper Reports Stronach Interest in Proposed Ocala Track

The Ocala Star-Banner has reported that Magna Entertainment chairman Frank Stronach has asked to meet with members of the Ocala City Council about possible plans to build a racetrack in the Central Florida city. Two meetings reportedly scheduled with Stronach and Steve Gray, a local attorney representing him, were postponed.

The newspaper reported one councilman, Gerald Ergle, as saying the track was being proposed in the Northwest quadrant of the city, off U.S. 27 and Interstate 75. Stronach was not quoted in the Ocala newspaper story and could not be reached by The Blood-Horse for comment.

Magna Entertainment owns seven tracks in five states: Santa Anita, Bay Meadows, and Golden Gate Fields in California; Gulfstream Park in Florida; Remington Park in Oklahoma; Thistledown in Ohio; and Great Lakes Downs in Michigan.

Currently, pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing is conducted in the area at simulcast parlors at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's headquarters and the Ocala Jai-Alai fronton. The nearest track with live pari-mutuel racing is Tampa Bay Downs in Oldsmar.

Marion County has a population of 258,916, according to the 2000 census. It grew by 33% over a 10-year period.