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Magna trims buying

Aug 6, 2002 3:18 AM

Magna Entertainment has decided to cut back on its recent racetrack shopping spree.

President Jim McAlpine said that his corporation will shift its priorities from acquiring to developing what it already owns.

"Building a company from our original position to our position today as North America’s largest racetrack operator was not easy," McAlpine said during a teleconference call last week.

Magna has spent over $690 million on 14 tracks since December 1998. This year, the purchases of Lone Star Park, Pimlico and Laurel in Maryland and Flamboro Downs harness track in Ontario are pending.

McAlpine said that by Sept. 3, the company would have in place a recently hired executive to head the home office’s new marketing and strategic planning department.

Magna is also interested in buying a piece of Florida’s Gulfstream Park.

NYRA loses in 2001

The New York Racing Association suffered losses of $11.3 million last year, despite seeing an increase in total expenses.

ThoroughbredTimes.com reported that NYRA had its first operating deficit since 1995, and the largest since the private, non-profit company was formed in 1955.

Officials sited legal fees, pensions and other retirement benefits, depreciation and expenses related to hosting last year. Most of the tax refund money that remained after legal fees were paid was spent on capital improvements at Saratoga Race Course.