Eric Mitchell

Stock Plunges for TVG's Parent Company

Gemstar-TV Guide stock plummeted Tuesday morning on the heels of poor fourth quarter and year-end results. As of 3 p.m., the parent company of the TV Games horse racing network was down $4.21 to $17.52, a drop of 19.4%.

Churchill Stock Continues to Rally, MTR Gaming Slips

The approval of electronic pull-tabs in Indiana and the introduction of video lottery legislation in Kentucky pushed Churchill Downs stock up $1.80 to $41.80 per share Tuesday. On the flip side, MTR Gaming was downgraded by a major investment bank and its stock dropped 8.8%

Matthews' Appeal Denied

A federal appellate court has upheld Gary Matthews' conviction for participating in a scheme to defraud a Houston bank out of $65 million. The former chief financial officer for Calumet Farm will be required to serve his entire 21-month prison sentence.

Churchill Downs Stock Jumps 9% on Monday

Churchill Downs stock rallied Monday, rising $3.22 on heavy trading. What drove the increase can only be speculated, but it came the day before Indiana legislators are to vote on a bill that expands gambling at racetracks and riverboats, and video lottery legislation is to be introduced in Kentucky.

Lundy Appeal to be Denied, A New Hearing Already Requested

A federal appellate court indicated in mid-February it did not intend to change the status of former Calumet Farm president J.T. Lundy's conviction on charges of bribery and deceit. Lundy immediately requested another hearing before the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals headquartered in New Orleans.

Electricity Possible Cause of Fatal Barn Fire

Leading New York owner Carl Lizza hoped to broaden the scope of his mostly homebred racing stable by buying a large number of yearlings in 2001. His hopes perished in a late-afternoon barn fire Feb. 23 that killed 22 horses in training at Mike O'Farrell's Ocala Stud in Florida.

Breeders' Cup Future Wager Scaled Down

Breeders' Cup officials and tote companies have scaled down the size of a proposed World Thoroughbred Championships future wager slated for later this year. Instead of a minimum of 100 betting interests, as originally hoped for, Breeders' Cup's first future pools would offer 24 runners each.

McGee Enters Handicapping Contest for Charity

Daily Racing Form correspondent Marty McGee will be competing for two charities in Gulfstream Park's inaugural Turf-Vivor Thoroughbred handicapping contest that began Friday. Any money McGee wins will go a special fund for Robert Williams, who lost his family in a car accident Feb. 15, and the Jockeys' Guild Disabled Jockeys Fund.

Oaklawn and Turfway Increasing Purses

Good weather and higher handles are driving up purses at Oaklawn Park and Turfway Park. Oaklawn will increase purses by $1,000 per race starting Saturday, while Turfway Park will increase purses 7% beginning with Friday's card. Both purse increases exclude stakes races.

Showboat Re-Files Lawsuit Against Penn National

Showboat Development has reportedly re-filed in Pennsylvania a lawsuit related to the operating rights of slot machines at Charles Town Races. A similar lawsuit filed in Nevada last year was dismissed Jan. 25 because of a lack of jurisdiction.

Canterbury Park Pursues VLTs

Minnesota legislators will consider video lottery terminals for Canterbury Park. If approved, the track could double its purses and extend its meet with the help of 1,750 machines.

Magna Posts Mixed Fourth Quarter, Strong Gains for 2001

Magna Entertainment reported a 28% gain in fourth quarter revenue, but losses in net income and earnings per share for the three-month period ending Dec. 31. For the year, the Canadian racing conglomerate reported a 25.5% increase in revenue, a jump in net income from $441,000 to $13.5 million, and an increase in diluted earnings per share from 1 cents to 16 cents.

TOC: Some NTRA Money Should Go to Purses

The Thoroughbred Owners of California is using a deal with Magna Entertainment as leverage in an attempt to garner a greater share of pari-mutuel takeout from account wagers made through the TV Games Network. In question is a share of the money TVG pays to the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.

Penn National Announces Record Fourth Quarter and Stock Offering

Penn National reported a record fourth quarter Monday with revenue climbing 48.1% and net income jumping 105.2%. The Pennsylvania racetrack and casino company also announced it will be offering 2.5 million in additional shares of common stock, which should generate about $74 million. Another 1 million shares will be offered at the same time by the Carlino Family Trust.

Magna Stock Hits 52-Week High

Magna Entertainment stock hit a new 52-week high of $10.25 Friday morning. The Canadian racing conglomerate stock price has been on a steady march upward since mid-January when it was trading for around $7 per share. Churchill Downs and Penn National keep trading at a premium on the heels of a Bear Stearns report on account wagering.

Penn National Suit Dismissed

A Nevada court on Jan. 25 dismissed a lawsuit that attempted to label Charles Town Races as a casino and force racetrack owner Penn National Gaming to pay a management fee to a previous owner of the track. The suit, which was filed by Showboat Development, was dismissed on the grounds that case should be heard in West Virginia, where the track is located.

Account Wager is Racing's Best Hope, Says Report

Account wagering offers Thoroughbred racing its best opportunity yet for real industrywide growth, according to a new report from Bear, Stearns, & Co. The 128-page report analyzes the regulatory and technological environment governing account wagering, and offers suggestions about what changes must occur for account wagering to expand.

Courts May Settle Artificial Insemination Debate

Thoroughbred breeders who are happy with the industry's staunch opposition to artificial insemination and embryo transfer should not get too comfortable. Pending legal action against the AQHA and The Jockey Club have the potential to wrest from breed registries control over their own rules.

International Mare Owners Not Worried By MRLS

Preliminary data from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture shows that, following required quarantine and testing of imported horses, approximately 205 overseas Thoroughbred mares were received in the state in 2001 compared with 248 mares 2000. Exact totals will be available in a few weeks.

Maryland Voters Favor Slots at Tracks to Help Schools

Concerns about under-funded education programs could make slot machines more attractive to Maryland legislature this year, according to poll results released today. The poll showed 54% of 800 voters contacted by phone favored having slot machines at racetracks provided a portion of the revenue went toward improving education.

Woodbine Entertainment Posts Record Handle for 2001

Expanded distribution of Woodbine Entertainment Group's Thoroughbred and harness races and larger fields generated by higher purses helped increase the company's total handle for the year by 11.1%. The all sources handle for Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing was a record $1.36 billion.

NTRA to Acquire EquiSource

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association is expected this week to fully acquire EquiSource, a corporation that managed group purchasing for the association. Once the deal is closed, a new organization called NTRA Purchasing will be formed.

Slow Growth in North American Purses

The boom from simulcasting is over and North American purses are now growing progressively slower every year like a freight train struggling up a mountain pass. The problem this time around is that the next mountain peak may still be a ways off, and the downhill side does not appear to be very steep.

Gtech Reports 38% Gain in Third Quarter Earnings

Gtech Holdings, a co-owner of Turfway Park and lottery system operator, reported Monday an 18% increase in fiscal third-quarter profits due to the sale of terminals and software to the United Kingdom. Net income rose to $21.6 million, or 73 cents a share, in the three months ending Nov. 24 from $18.3 million, or 53 cents a share, a year earlier.

McAlpine Challenges Industry, TVG to Embrace Free Enterprise

Magna Entertainment president Jim McAlpine told racing industry leaders Thursday that their best chance to compete against Las Vegas and Disney, which he says are horse racing's true competitors, is by making industrywide deregulation and the adoption of free enterprise a top priority. And as Magna prepares to launch its own online and telephone account wagering service in California, McAlpine urged TVG to abandon its exclusive contracts with racetracks and merge its content with Magna's tracks and others.

McAlpine Challenges Industry, TVG to Embrace Free Enterprise

Magna Entertainment president Jim McAlpine told racing industry leaders Thursday that their best chance to compete against Las Vegas and Disney, which he says are horse racing's true competitors, is by making industrywide deregulation and the adoption of free enterprise a top priority.

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