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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Penn National Purchases Stake in Seventh and Eighth Tracks - Good for Horsemen or Not?

by Richard E. Glover, Jr., National HBPA Director of Communications

Late last week, it was announced that Penn National Gaming, Inc (PNGI) had entered into a joint venture with Magna Developments, Inc. (MID) to run the Maryland Jockey Club's racetracks - Pimilco Race Course and Laurel Race Course. That brings the tally up to eight racetracks that PNGI either owns or co-owns (Thoroughbred tracks Penn National, Zia Park, Charles Town Races & Slots, Pimlico, and Laurel, as well as harness tracks Raceway Park, Bangor Raceway, Freehold Raceway). That is more racetracks than either Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI) or the combined Magna companies (MID and MEC - Magna Entertainment Corp.) currently own.

Whether it is a good or bad thing for horsemen to have so many racetracks owned by single or a few entities has been debated for years. The answer seems to depend heavily on the corporate philosophy of those multiple racetrack-owning companies. Some have proven more horseman-friendly than others.

In this particular case, The Baltimore Sun has already openly expressed its opinion that bringing PNGI to run Maryland's racetracks is a bad move - asserting that PNGI "is about slots, not horse tracks" in an editorial you can read by clicking here.

What do you think about this new partnership? Will it be good or bad for the horsemen racing in Maryland?

And what do you think about the larger philosophical issue - are these companies that own several racetracks good or bad for horsemen? Why do you feel that way?

Let us hear what you think.

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