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According to an April 3, 2009 article in the Maryland Gazette, Magna Entertainment's filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy threw Maryland racing into chaos, with no one sure of company Chairman Frank Stronach's plans for Maryland tracks. Magna is the bankrupt Canadian company that owns thoroughbred tracks Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course - Pimlico is home to the Preakness Stakes, Maryland's single largest annual sporting event.

Venable is representing the state regarding its rights to the Preakness. A 1992 Maryland law gives the state the first option to buy the Preakness if it is offered for sale, but has to match any accepted offer. Venable partner Gregory Cross wants the bankruptcy court to forbid MI Developments (the parent company of Magna) from bidding on Magna assets because as primary lender to Magna it should not be allowed to credit bid.

"They're not allowed to credit bid amounts loaned to other debtors in an auction of a company that owns the Preakness Stakes," Cross said. Moreover, he wants the court to recognize the state's statutory right to buy the Preakness Stakes.