Magna Entertainment, the bankrupt Canadian company that owns thoroughbred tracks Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, is protesting the state of Maryland's emergency bill exercising eminent domain over the tracks. Pimlico is home to the Preakness Stakes - Maryland's single largest annual sporting event - and the governor and lawmakers say the they must do what is necessary to keep the Preakness from going the way of the Baltimore Colts. Legislative leaders have said they hope to only employ their rights under this bill if necessary.
According to an April 8, 2009 article in the Baltimore Sun, Magna sent a letter to legislative leaders asking them to "cease and desist all activity" with respect to the bill, which Magna says threatens their assets. Under the bill, the state could seize the tracks as well as the Woodlawn Vase and Preakness-related trademarks, copyrights and contracts, if doing so prevents "the loss of the historically, culturally, and economically important" horse racing legacy.
Venable has been retained by the State regarding its rights to the Preakness. Bankruptcy partner Gregory Cross, was quoted in the story saying he didn't think the bill would decrease the tracks' value or make their auction less likely.
This story also appeared on TradingMarkets.com on Thursday, April 9, 2009.