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Penn National announces Jockey Club sale to Stronach

Pimlico Race Course at the 136th Preakness Stakes in 2011

Penn National Gaming Inc. announced Thursday that it will sell its share of the Maryland Jockey Club to Stron-MJC Limited Partnership.

MI Developments Inc., Penn National’s joint venture partner, will also transfer its interest in the jockey club to an affiliate of Stron-MJC Limited Partnership.

MI Developments’ transfer of the share is part of a transaction approved by the shareholders of MI Developments Inc. that is scheduled to close June 30.

The majority owner of Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course announced in February it would transfer all of its racing assets to its chairman and chief executive, Frank Stronach.

In exchange, Stronach will give up control of Ontario-based MI Developments. Stronach held 57 percent of the real estate company’s voting power.

The cost of the deal was not disclosed.

Effective July 1, the transaction will give the Stronach entity full ownership of the assets and operations of Pimlico Race Course, Laurel Park and the Bowie Training Center, according to a statement released by the Maryland Jockey Club.

“Today’s announcement is part of our ongoing commitment to the horseracing industry and to the state of Maryland,” said Belinda Stronach in a statement on behalf of the partnership. She said the company will work with industry and government officials to rebuild the state’s racing reputation.

“The tremendous support for last month’s Preakness, with more than 107,000 in attendance, demonstrates what a fantastic racing market Maryland can be when given a quality product,” said Greg Avioli, president and CEO of the Stronach entity’s gaming and racing division, in a statement.

“As we turn the page and begin a new chapter in Maryland racing, we are more committed than ever to do what it takes to return Maryland to its rightful place as one of the top racing and breeding states in the country,” he said.

Pimlico Race Course, opened in 1870, is the annual host of the Preakness Stakes, the second leg in thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown.

Peter M. Carlino, CEO of Penn National, said in a statement, “While we are divesting our interest in the Maryland Jockey Club, Penn National Gaming remains committed to racing and gaming in Maryland.”

Penn National acquired Rosecroft Raceway in Oxon Hill in February, and has applied for a racing license at the facility to resume racing this fall.

The transaction is expected to be completed in the next few months and is subject to approval by the Maryland Racing Commission.

One comment

  1. If I remember correctly, the state recently loaned the Jockey Club somewhere around $4mil. What happens with that money now?