Sunday, March 29, 2009

Creditor wants Pimlico sold before Preakness


The Preakness Stakes (G1) is less than two months away, and a major creditor in the Magna Entertainment Corp. bankruptcy case would like to see a new owner of the Maryland Jockey Club in place before the May 16 classic.

PNC Bank objects to bankrupt Magna’s current plan of accepting bids for its racetracks, which include Maryland’s Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park. With its loans secured through MJC assets, the bank is calling for an auction of the properties before this year’s Preakness.

“If the Pimlico/Preakness assets were sold prior to the Preakness race, the assets would yield a significantly higher purchase price than if the assets are offered for sale after the Preakness race since the bulk of the revenues that Pimlico Race Course generates result from the Preakness race itself,” PNC contends in its objection filed Thursday.

In the Magna Entertainment Corp. proposal, which it plans to submit on April 3, the track owner will accept bids on the Maryland Jockey Club properties, Santa Anita Park, Thistledown, Remington Park, and Portland Meadows. Magna has retained Miller Buckfire & Co. to market the tracks.

Under the plan, Magna would accept bids until July 7 and announce winners on August 7. However, PNC said the plan would not result in top value for the properties and the bank called for an auction in a “controlled, fair, and open fashion.”

In its objection, PNC also makes clear that it considers the Preakness Stakes to be a separate entity from the racetracks, which could open the door for a bid on the classic with the idea of moving the race. Maryland law would allow the state to match such a bid, but the state faces a budget deficit.