Joe De Francis

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MEC Acquires Remainder of Maryland Jockey Club

MEC Acquires Remainder of Maryland Jockey Club

Magna Entertainment Corp. has exercised its option, pursuant to an agreement with certain companies controlled by Joe De Francis and his sister, Karin De Francis, to acquire the remaining interest in the Maryland Jockey Club, which operates Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course.

THA: TrackNet Plans to Have Horsemen at Table

Though questions persist about TrackNet Media Group, the entity formed by Churchill Downs Inc. and Magna Entertainment Corp. to buy and sell simulcast signals, it has generated an initial positive response from one of the country's major horsemen's groups.

Magna Announces South American Simulcast Deal

Patrons of Maryland Jockey Club simulcast signals will have a full-time opportunity to bet on races from South America starting Dec. 29, by virtue of an agreement announced Dec. 6 at the 33rd Racing & Gaming Symposium in Tucson, Ariz.

Report: De Francis Takes on More Duties for MEC

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Maryland Jockey Club president Joe De Francis will now oversee customer relations and HorseRacing TV for Magna Entertainment Corp., parent company of Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course.

Maryland in Turmoil Over Plan to Slash Dates

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Maryland Jockey Club president and chief executive officer Joe De Francis created the picture of a locomotive bearing down on Maryland in the form of Pennsylvania slot machines as he encouraged the Maryland Racing Commission to accept a plan from Magna Entertainment Corp to cut live racing dates from 220 to 112 in 2006.

New Turf Series Could Grow to $10 Million

The owner of Colonial Downs hopes the new "Grand Slam of Grass" is eventually worth $10 million and said two turf stakes at the Virginia racetrack that are part of the series would each be worth $1 million in 2006.

Magna Moves Gagliano to Maryland Executive Post

Jim Gagliano, who joined Magna Entertainment Corp. more than two years ago, has been appointed executive vice president of Maryland racing operations for MEC, majority owner of Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course under the Maryland Jockey Club banner.

MJC Denies Racism Charge in Heated Commission Meeting

In an explosive meeting marked by a commissioner's expletive-filled response to charges of discrimination, the Maryland Racing Commission voted Oct. 14 to review the Maryland Jockey Club's documentation for evicting trainers and closing the Pimlico stable for the winter.

FBI Reportedly Probing Campaign Donations Made by De Francis

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Federal investigators are interviewing top Maryland lawmakers, as well as lobbyists, and members of the state's racing industry about Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and his role as chairman of the Democratic Legislative Committee, a fundraising arm of the national Democratic Party.

Leatherbury Honored at Pimlico

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The Maryland Jockey Club honored King Leatherbury Saturday at Pimlico after he became the third trainer in history to win 6,000 races last month.

Preakness Day Handle Down 9.5% From Last Year

Total handle on the May 17 Preakness Stakes Day program at Pimlico Race Course topped $60 million for the third consecutive year, but it was down 9.5% from last year, according to figures released May 21 by the Maryland Jockey Club.

Push for Maryland Racetrack Slots Has Obstacles

With the 90-day session of the General Assembly at its midpoint, the effort to legalize slot machines at Maryland racetracks has bogged down. Gov. Robert Ehrlich Jr. has gone back to the drawing board with his proposal which had, incredibly, angered nearly everyone.

NTRA Directors to Tackle Governance Issues

Organization bylaws and changes in the industry landscape could lead the National Thoroughbred Racing Association to tweak its structure when the board of directors meets in early February for a meeting and long-range planning retreat. Meanwhile, the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association has named John Amerman as its new NTRA representative.

Centaur Beats Out Greenwood, Magna For Rosecroft

In a compromise decision at the end of a long and difficult meeting, the owners of Rosecroft Raceway in Maryland voted to sell the Standardbred track to Centaur Inc., part owner of the Hoosier Park in Indiana and casinos in California and Colorado.

Maryland Track Deal Figures to Have Broad Impact

Magna Entertainment has plans to transform Maryland's premier Thoroughbred racetracks into "destination entertainment centers," and apparently expand off-track wagering in the state. At this time, though, officials are reluctant to discuss details.

Magna Buys Majority Interest in Pimlico, Laurel Park

Magna Entertainment will hook up with Joe and Karin De Francis to own and operate Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course under a $117.5-million deal announced July 15. At least a partial sale of the two Maryland racetracks has been rumored for months.

MJC Attorney: No Deal Made for Sale of Racetracks

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A Maryland Jockey Club attorney told Maryland legislators June 25 that no deal has been made to sell Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course to Magna Entertainment, and that any deal would have to clear major regulatory hurdles.

Strong Preakness Drove Up MJC Net Income

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The Maryland Jockey Club reported a combined net income of $1,492,000 for Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park for 2001, according to audited financial statements filed Friday with the state racing commission.

Maryland Factions Strike Deal; 'Special' Suspended

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The Maryland Jockey Club and the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association reached a four-year deal Feb. 27 that resolves conflict that has lingered for years over racing dates and stakes schedules. As part of the deal, though, the grade I Pimlico Special will be suspended for 2002.

All-Sources Handle Increases in Maryland

The Maryland Jockey Club, which operates Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, said the all-sources handle totaled $535,813,090, compared with $530,833,234 in 2000 despite the fact there were three less liveThoroughbred dates and 14 fewer Standardbred dates in 2001.

Maryland Handle Edges Upward 1 Percent in 2001

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The Maryland Jockey Club reported that pari-mutuel handle from all sources totaled $535,813,090 in 2001, compared to $530,833,234 in 2000, despite the fact that there were three less live Thoroughbred days and 14 fewer Standardbred days run during the year. The increase in total handle was just 1 percent.

Mountain Track Gets OK From Maryland Panel

The Maryland Racing Commission on Nov. 27 granted the first new license to operate a racetrack in the state in more than 50 years. The commission gave the go-ahead to William Rickman Jr. and his father, William Rickman Sr., to build a small track in mountainous western Maryland. The last new licenses issued were in 1949 for the Rosecroft Raceway and Ocean Downs harness tracks.

Maryland Industry Told to Get Act Together

Exasperated by the state racing industry's continued bickering and failure to work together, the Maryland Racing Commission Oct. 29 ordered Thoroughbred and Standardbred factions to resolve conflicts in two weeks or face punitive action that could lead to the denial of racing dates.

Maryland Industry Told to Get Act Together

Horse racing in Maryland is in dire straits and desperate need of help in the form of slot machines, a new racetrack, or millions of dollars in state assistance, industry leaders said Aug. 21 during a Senate Special Committee on Gaming hearing in Annapolis, Md. In turn, legislators told them the ball is in the industry's court.

MJC Seeks Cause of Cracking Glass at Laurel

Large panels of glass in the grandstand overlooking the track at Laurel Park have been cracking at an alarming rate. The situation, which already has forced the transfer of some racing dates to Pimlico Race Course, has prompted the Maryland Jockey Club to hire a team of experts to find the cause and propose a solution.

TVG Available on Baltimore Cable

The TV Games Network became available today to 40,000 Comcast cable television subscribers in the Baltimore metropolitan area. It is the first time TVG has been available on a cable system outside Kentucky.

Virginia Dates OK'd; Three-State Circuit Proposed

The Virginia Racing Commission on Monday approved a revised live racing schedule for Colonial Downs that dovetails with dates in neighboring Maryland. For next year, one racing official has floated a plan to create a three-state circuit -- Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware -- designed to capitalize on each state's assets.

Maryland, Virginia Agree on Summer Schedule

Under the plan approved Wednesday by the Maryland Racing Commission, Thoroughbreds will cease racing in the state from July 8 to Aug. 7. During that period, Colonial Downs, the track in Virginia managed by the Maryland Jockey Club, will run its 25-day meet.

New Maryland Track Granted Preliminary Approval

After the Maryland Jockey Club agreed to drop its opposition, the Maryland Racing Commission granted preliminary approval March 30 to William Rickman Jr.'s bid to build a horse track in Western Maryland. Representatives of the MJC stopped fighting the proposal after Rickman, owner of Delaware Park and Ocean Downs, secured a $20 million line of credit for Allegany Racing Association. That is the entity composed of Rickman and his father, William Rickman, that proposes to construct the track at the eastern edge of Allegany County.

Maryland Jockey Club Rejoins NTRA

With a Saturday deadline to land a seat on the National Thoroughbred Racing Association board of directors fast approaching, the Maryland Jockey Club has rejoined the NTRA, and its president, Joe De Francis, will take a seat on the NTRA board.

Maryland Dates Meeting May Be 'Bloodbath'

On Wednesday, representatives of the Maryland Jockey Club will ask the state's racing commission for permission to cease racing at Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park for parts of June and July so that Thoroughbreds can race at Colonial Downs. The Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association doesn't support the plan.

Maryland Jockey Club Bags Plans For Third Track

An alliance led by the Maryland Jockey Club has dropped plans for building a horse track in Western Maryland and instead plans on constructing two off-track-betting parlors in that remote region of the state. This shift in strategy would leave William Rickman Jr. as the lone applicant for building the track.

Remodeled Maryland OTB Parlor Finally Reopens

After an 8 1/2-month shutdown for remodeling, the much-maligned Poor Jimmy's off-track betting parlor in Maryland reopened Sept. 15 with a new name, a dramatically new look, and the prospect of serving as a model for other OTBs around the state.

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