Magna’s vice-chairman James Nicol said if the company’s plan to build a racetrack and training facility in Northern California is delayed beyond 2002, Magna will attempt to negotiate an extension on the lease with Paine Webber or, in the event the property is no longer available, seek CHRB’s approval to run the Bay Meadows meet at Golden Gate.
The California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) on Friday approved Magna Entertainment Corporation’s proposed purchase of the Bay Meadows Operating Company. The board ruled in favor of the acquisition by determining that Magna's purchase of the Bay Meadows operation would be “in the best interests of the Horse Racing Law," according to a CHRB press release. Magna already owns California tracks Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields, as well as the San Luis Rey Downs training center.“Bay Meadows needs to be owned by someone interested in racing in Northern California and there aren’t that many people around today willing to do that,” said Jack Liebau, Bay Meadows’ president. “Magna gives Bay Meadows the best chance of continuity.”The letter of intent submitted by Magna calls for the company to acquire the Bay Meadows Operating Company from Paine Webber Inc. for $20-million. The racetrack real estate, however, will remain the property of Paine Webber, who will continue to lease the property to Magna for racing purposes through Dec. 31, 2002. After that time, Paine Webber plans to develop the property.