Eric Mitchell

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.

Individual Defendants to Remain Part of Guild Suit, For Now

Four jockeys and the chief executive of a California management firm running the Jockeys' Guild will remain part of a wrongful termination and slander suit filed by former Guild national manager, John Giovanni. A Fayette County circuit court judge on Friday asked attorneys on both sides to finish their depositions in the case and readdress the motion to dismiss later with more refined arguments.

Personnel Changes at Call Now and Delaware Park

Call Now, the parent company of Retama Park, announced today the retirement of chairman and chief executive officer William Allen and president Robert Buffkin. The new president and CEO is Thomas Johnson and Christopher Hall will replace Buffkin on the board. At Delaware Park, Sam Abbey has been appointed racing secretary and vice president of finance John Rooney announced he will retire.

Investors Group Makes Offer for Louisiana Downs

A group of six to seven investors from Texas and Louisiana has issued a letter of intent to buy the 27-year-old Louisiana Downs. A state license issued in March that allows the racetrack to run 15,000 square-feet of slot machines significantly increased its value. If the deal closes, the investors intend to spend more than $90 million on renovations.

Change in Judges Delays Hearing in Real Quiet Suit

A change of judges has delayed a pre-trial hearing in a lawsuit involving 1998 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Real Quiet. For scheduling reasons, Judge Henry R. Wilhoit recused himself from the case in which Kentucky farm owner George Hofmeister has accused owner Mike Pegram and trainer Bob Baffert of fraud.

Hearing in Jockeys' Guild Suit Postponed

A hearing to determine if five defendants should be dismissed from a lawsuit filed against the Jockeys' Guild by former national manager John Giovanni was postponed Wednesday due to illnesses by attorneys on both sides of the case.

Canterbury Reports Mixed Third Quarter

Canterbury Park reported increased revenue and decreased net income for the third quarter ending Sept. 20. Revenue for the Minnesota racetrack was up 4.3% to $12.1 million, but net income for the third quarter fell 21% to $378,103, or 10 cents per share.

Keeneland Online RNA Sale Begins Nov. 18

Keeneland's online version of its November breeding stock sale will begin Nov. 18 at 9 a.m.. Some horses have already been entered in the sale with more entries expected today and Friday. Bidding starts closing hip-by-hip on

An Owner's Profile: Stuart Subotnick

New York media magnate Stuart Subotnick belongs to an elite group: he's one of America's 500 richest people. He also belongs to a more exclusive clique of the super-wealthy who own Thoroughbred racehorses. Subotnick, 59, did not grow up around a racetrack, and he's not a gambler. He got into Thoroughbred racing at the urging of a friend and found the game intoxicatingly competitive as well as financially challenging.

Fell Steps Down As Youbet.com CEO

Robert Fell has stepped down as chief executive officer of Youbet.com, an online horse racing and wagering company, and will be replaced by two men. Vice presidents Ronald Luniewski and Phillip C. Hermann will share CEO duties.

Total Handle Up at Arlington, On-Track Stats Slip

Arlington Park's first meet to run through October produced a new single-day record handle and a 10.4% increase in average daily total handle. The tragedies of Sept. 11 were blamed for double-digit losses in on-track handle and attendance.

Magna Improves Historically Slow Third Quarter

Magna Entertainment showed some improvement during the third quarter ending Sept. 30, historically the company's weakest period of the year. Revenue for the Ontario-based racing conglomerate increased 31.1% for the quarter and 24.9% for the first nine months of the year.

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