March 6, 2009

Md. horse racing jolted by bankruptcy

Magna Entertainment, the biggest player in Maryland's thoroughbred industry, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the Baltimore Sun reported.

Magna, which owns Baltimore's Pimlico Race Course, the site of the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of horse racing's annual triple crown, has been struggling to repay a building debt as revenues have sagged.

Its Laurel Park (Md.) will continue business as usual for the time being with its winter meet, but the Sun said longer-term prospects for Maryland racing are murky.

This could be a good thing, Maryland Racing Commission Chairman John Franzone told the newspaper about Magna's attempt to reorganize, or it could be a very bad thing. Worst case, a carpetbagger gobbles up Pimlico, Laurel and the Preakness and is averse to what we're trying to do here with racing.

Franzone's group has its next public meeting on March 17 at Laurel Park.