Disagreement Over Tracks In Maryland

Published: November 10, 2010 12:31 pm EST

Agreement to disagree, big time, has broken out in the Maryland horse racing industry


After the Maryland Jockey Club administrative management said it would close down Laurel Race Course, major shareholder Frank Stronach said the track will race its usual meeting next year.

Stronach’s announcement brought sarcastic editorial criticism from the Baltimore Sun, which began with, “Let’s hope that by now Maryland horsemen have learned not to get their hopes up when Frank Stronach makes big promises.”

Penn National Racing, a partner in the MJC, says it was not consulted on Stronach’s announcement and does not agree with it. The Baltimore Sun said of this, “Penn National has equal say over big decisions like this one, so it seems reports of Laurel’s resurrection may have been greatly exaggerated.”

Penn National told the paper it looks forward to a meeting with Stronach “as soon as possible,” and Stronach said he plans to visit Maryland soon.

Penn National, which unsuccessfully spent millions fighting the Cordish Companies’ bid to build a huge entertainment complex 10 miles from Laurel, now says it will continue to seek state approval to install slots at Laurel and other Maryland tracks, which would require a constitutional amendment.

Meanwhile, Halsey Minor, the west coast founder of CNet, reentered the scene, offering $300 million for MI Developments’ racing holdings.

(Harness Tracks of America)

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