Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Since the March 23 announcement that the Maryland tracks will not go to auction, but will instead be picked up by Frank Stronach’s real estate company, MI Developments, I have read one sour comment after another.

I understand the disappointment of Maryland horsemen and their fear that Magna is responsible for the downfall of Maryland racing.  I, too, have lost money.  I’m in debt to my feed company, the bank, and a good friend, and though I have two beautiful Outflanker Maryland-breds, I will have a lot of trouble selling them, and if any money comes in, it will only pay off debts.  

But remember, it was the Maryland legislators who bought the nails and the hammers to pound the lid down on Maryland racing.  Magna DID COME UP WITH THE MONEY -- in an escrow account.  Isn’t it obvious Magna’s escrow money was rebuffed by the Slots Commission because the politicians were already in bed with Cordish?

But the citizens got irate and passed a referendum to allow the voters of Anne Arundel County to vote on whether or not to have slots at Arundel Mills. So next fall, Magna may be able to file for re-zoning and have the slots go to Laurel where they belong.

Has anyone been to Magna's Gulfstream Park recently?  It is beautiful.  It is clean, aesthetically pleasing, has upscale restaurants and shops.  What sense would it have made for them to rebuild a grandstand and paid tax dollars on a huge space that remained empty for all but a few days of the year?

Years ago you could not watch racing all day long on TV.  Except for a few races a year, if you wanted to see a race, you had to show up.  Now people watch and bet from their couch.  So stop moaning about how it used to be.

Start thinking about how it could be.  Laurel Maryland is a fabulous location halfway between D.C. and Baltimore.  It has a train track that goes to the grandstand.  It has two major highways close by.  But it has no upscale shopping or restaurants.  It is NOT a trendy area.  If Magna does a job on Laurel like they did on Gulfstream, Laurel will be a must go destination. 

See Baltimore Sun Article here:,0,1745345.story?page=1&utm_medium=feed&track=rss&utm_campaign=Feed:%20baltimoresun/business/rss


Steve Zorn said...

Why do we not love Frank? Let me count the ways.

First, he cheats. The entire financial history of Magna Entertainment has been based on his use of other people's (his minority shareholders') money to finance his personal ambitions.

Second, he's a liar, or at least his agents are. They told bidders on Monday that the auction was still on, when they must have known that the substitute scheme was in the works. Just one of many lies during the auction process.

Third, he's a lousy boss. Just ask the numerous executives that he's fired because they didn't agree with him.

Fourth, there's no way he's going to put any real money into Maryland racing, which desperately needs it. The limits on spending imposed -- finally! -- by the minority shareholders will see to that. So the decaying plant will, well, just continue to decay. Laurel won't be rebuilt in the new Gulfstream's image.

And fifth, if you care about such things, is his penchant for dating 18-year-olds. Might not be illegal, but it's undignified.

Sasscer Hill said...

Most of that, unfortunately, seems like America today. But a boss who fires his employees because they won't suck up -- that really irks me!
Been there, done that. Am poor, but happily self employed now.

Kevin Stafford said...

LOVE your passion for Maryland racing, Lynda.

Slots will be a much needed addition IF they can get them in at Laurel finally. However, they won't cure the problem, and I'm not confident Magna or MI Developments will either.

You're right that Laurel could be a great place. It could absolutely compete with Delaware and W.Virginia for slots money and racing wagering - but I'm not optimistic at our chances. The enemy seems at the gates - and bravely in their battles set.

I might have to chain myself to a fence at Pimlico after all. :-)