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Maryland Jockey Club renews threat to slash operations

The Maryland Jockey Club threatened once again Friday to slash operations at its horse racing tracks in Maryland if developer David Cordish wins approval to build a casino next to the Arundel Mills shopping mall.

Throughout the referendum campaign, the club has tied the future of horse racing in the state to the success of its effort to convince Anne Arundel County voters to overturn Cordish’s zoning. The club, which had sought the county slots license in 2009 only to have its bid thrown out, wants another chance to bring slots to its Laurel Park track.

“If Question A passes there will be a complete overhaul of Maryland racing,” club President Tom Chuckas said in a written statement. “Bowie will be closed, Laurel Park will be closed for live racing and turned into an off-track betting facility and there will be just 40 days of thoroughbred racing at Pimlico during the spring.”

Cordish quickly fired back at the club, owned by Ontario-based Magna Entertainment Corp. and Penn National Gaming Inc., the owner of Maryland’s only operating casino.

“If the out-of-state and foreign owners of the tracks want to bail on Maryland horse racing, we stand ready, willing and able to buy the tracks and return Maryland horse racing to national prominence,” Cordish said.

Cordish, his allies and the club have thrown millions at the referendum campaign, flooding television stations with ads touting the jobs the casino would bring, and decrying the plan to locate it next to “a family friendly mall.”

Cordish and the owners of the mall had given $2.6 million as of the last reporting deadline on Oct. 8, and the Jockey Club, $3.2 million.

2 comments

  1. This is just a continuing ploy to win votes from those that cannot see the truth. Maryland horse racing will receive 9.5% of the revenue from all of the casinos in Maryland, regardlesss of where the casino is built. That is close to 40 million dollars a year, which is more than what Anne Arundel County will receive. This will raise the purses to attract more people, and will also help to raise enough money to modernize facilities. My predictions from before sound accurate…if Question A passes, Penn National, being majority stake-holder of Laurel Park, will either: A)force the sale of Laurel Park to the highest bidder, or B) continue with it’s underhanded tactics and attempt to tie this thing up for years. The best thing for the Maryland Court system to do is if Question A passes, deny Penn National any further court actions. The only entity to hammer the nail in the coffin of the horse racing industry is none other than Penn National Gaming.

  2. Arundel Mills is family friendly? I haven’t been there lately, because the last two times I did go, I was almost mugged both times. Not to mention the thugs that seem to roam free, their behavior unchallenged.

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