Sale of Santa Anita considered

Aug 12, 2008 7:00 PM

by Ray Poirier | After six years, Frank Stronach, whose Canadian auto parts company made him a multi-millionaire, still fails to find a way to make money with his Magna Entertainment Corp. (MECA), owner or operator of more than a dozen horse tracks in North America.

Since its founding, Magna Entertainment has loss some $577.8 million.

Stronach, who became company CEO after some six business executives were dumped from the job, now says he will not be able to rid the company of debt by the end of the calendar year as he had previously promised.

Things are so bad, the company has not been able to sell some of its assets that were previously identified as Remington Park and Thistledown racetracks in Oklahoma and Ohio, respectively. So, Stronach, who reminded stockholders that he has put his own money into the operation to keep it going, is now considering selling Santa Anita racetrack in California, clearly the company’s crown jewel.

Facing the company is a debt of $229.8 million that becomes due on June 30, 2009.

Stronach told investors that he is still committed to the company, as indicated by his personal investments.

"Keep in mind," he said in a recent conference call, "I put money in this year and last year. And, I think I am reasonably intelligent. I wouldn’t throw money into an empty hole."