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Horse industry descending upon Annapolis

With the Anne Arundel County Council scheduled to vote Monday on whether to allow zoning for slots at the Arundel Mills Mall, the Maryland Horse Council has issued an alert calling upon the industry to make its presence known that night.

The e-mail sent out by the council is pretty over-the-top — it implores people to “help save Laurel Park,” warning that the future of thoroughbred racing is in danger if the council votes to approve the zoning for Arundel Mills:

The Anne Arundel County Council will vote Monday on whether to allow the slots that we all expected to be put at Laurel Park Racecourse to instead go to a new non-racing facility next to Arundel Mills Mall. The Maryland Jockey Club predicts that if slots go to Arundel Mills, Laurel Park’s value will immediately plummet, the impending bankruptcy auction will be a disaster, and the land there will be used for a housing development. If zoning is denied for Arundel Mills slots on Monday, the Jockey Club will submit a proposal for slots at Laurel, it’s value will increase, and the track will be given a new future with new ownership.

Wow, talk about glossing over the details — first of all, it’s not even certain the county council will vote because they are hearing arguments before the vote. They have to vote before Midnight so if the hearings go over, the vote gets rescheduled.

Second, if the zoning gets voted down, while the MJC may WANT to submit a new application, there’s no guarantee that could be done. AND if the MJC (which is owned by Magna Entertainment Corp.) did apply for a license, Magna would most certainly take its Maryland tracks off the auction block and we wouldn’t have a new owner after all.

Does anyone else find this a bit too much?

2 comments

  1. Having written the Maryland Horse Council alert myself, I do not think it is “over the top.” It lays out what we believe to be the most likely scenarios with and without approval of zoning for slots at Arundel Mills.

    We cannot speak for the Video Lottery Commission, but common sense does suggest that if the Arundel Mills proposal is rejected that it will reopen bidding for an Anne Arundel site. It is you who I think is wrong by suggesting that Laurel Park would be taken off the auction block if Magna applied for a slots license.

    In any case, the Maryland Horse Council’s leadership has an obligation to inform its membership of what we believe to be underway with respect to the future of our state’s flagship racetrack. We stand by that assessment. Time will tell whether either scenario comes to pass.

  2. Thanks for the input Steuart. And you’re right — only time will tell. Here’s an interesting development today that landed in my inbox: a correction to a Baltimore Sun readers poll asking if the The Anne Arundel County Council should approve the slots zoning at at Arundel Mills Mall.

    The poll results were printed in today’s paper with the actual results flipped. Here are the correct results:

    YES 78% (7029 responses for slots at Arundel Mills)
    NO 20% (1818 responses)
    NOT SURE 2% (145 responses)

    And guess who sent out the correction notice? The press contact for The Cordish Co.