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According to the Baltimore Sun, a federal bankruptcy judge approved, on October 14, a plan to auction Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park early next year, despite objections from the tracks' former owners.

Magna Entertainment Corp., which owns the race tracks and the Preakness Stakes, filed for bankruptcy protection in March, calling for a quick sale. Under the agreement, buyers would be required to keep the Preakness, Maryland’s largest sporting event, in the state.

Lawyers representing the group that sold the tracks to Magna several years ago, argued that the approved sale plan fails to account for the former owners’ rights to a share of future proceeds from slots and other alternative gambling at the two tracks that was negotiated when they sold the track to Magna.

Venable partner Greg Cross, who represents the state of Maryland in the Magna proceedings, told the Sun: "We have agreement that the Preakness will remain in the state, the state's matching right to the Preakness is taken into account in the sale, and the state will be afforded the opportunity to review all prospective purchasers in advance.”

"We didn't have any of that in the spring,” Cross said. “Our position has significantly improved. Most importantly, the Preakness is staying in the state"

Magna filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March. Last spring, it withdrew a proposal to auction the Maryland tracks, because of objections from the state that the company’s plan did not take into account the state's "right of first refusal" for the Preakness.