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Magna Entertainment wins bid to delay auction of Md. horse tracks

The sale of Maryland’s thoroughbred horse racing tracks has been delayed by one month after the fourth time the owner has requested a rescheduling.

Ontario-based Magna Entertainment Corp. filed a request in bankruptcy court Friday to move the auction Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course to March 25. The tracks and Bowie Training Center were scheduled to be auctioned off on Tuesday.

The delay puts the sale of Pimlico, home of the Preakness Stakes, at roughly seven weeks before the race. The Preakness is Maryland’s biggest sporting event, and Magna has required that bidders for the track promise to keep the event in the state.

No reason for the delay was given in the filing, although past delays were requested because Magna hoped to work out a preliminary sale agreement with one of the Maryland property bidders.

Six groups or people have placed bids on Magna’s Maryland properties. Known bidders are former owner Joseph De Francis, Baltimore-based developer David Cordish and Penn National Gaming, which is planning a slots facility in Cecil County.

Magna filed for bankruptcy on March 5 of last year. The company was the largest race track owner in North America, owning tracks in California, Florida, Texas, Oklahoma and Maryland.

On Thursday, the company submitted its plan for reorganization. Magna proposes using money from the sale of the Maryland Jockey Club (which operates Magna’s Maryland properties) to pay back its creditors. The company would also use proceeds from the sale of Thistledown race track in Ohio, and any proceeds above $20 million from the sale of Lone Star Park in Texas.

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