Magna Cum Loud - By Lenny Shulman

(Originally published in the May 29, 2010 issue of The Blood-Horse magazine. Feel free to share your own thoughts and opinions at the bottom of the column.)

You have to give Frank Stronach points for consistency. Since he embarked on his supermarket sweep of North American racetracks a dozen years ago, his mantra has remained the same. You can wind him up on any given day and get “Free market. Less regulation. Untie our hands. Let everyone run as many dates as they want and the market will decide.”

Stronach’s right about Thoroughbred racing being over-regulated. He shouldn’t be shocked, however, that since gambling is occurring in these establishments, government gets involved. Stronach has purchased a dozen racetracks and properties he wanted to develop as racetracks, in the ensuing years, and subsequently sold many of them. Like the Roto-Rooter man, he has caused his shareholders’ accounts to drain quickly. Through a gaggle of financial and legal calisthenics, he’s managed to emerge from the bankruptcy proceedings of his Magna Entertainment Corp. still owning a handful of tracks.

The question, given the current mess at Santa Anita Park, is why?

In California, where Stronach owns Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields, there will be no economic relief from slot machines. The Indian tribes, with their mountains of casino cash, have bought the political process. So Stronach’s MI Developments, which assumed the assets of MEC April 30, decided to get off on the wrong foot by trying to boot the Oak Tree Racing Association, which has raced autumn dates at Santa Anita since 1969, off the premises.

It’s all legal. Under bankruptcy law, a new owner is not required to honor existing leases, so MID voided the lease with Oak Tree, which dictated that Oak Tree give 75% of its profits, or about $4 million per meeting, to Santa Anita. It made Oak Tree a new offer it could, and did, refuse—the $4 million, plus a $10 million loan with no principal payments for two years, plus paying 25% of all racing capital improvements at the track, plus forgoing an extra $1 million during years when it hosts Breeders’ Cup.

Oak Tree, a not-for-profit (Magna, unintentionally, has that in common with it) organization, has given away more than $20 million to charitable causes in its 40 years, and its leaders, men such as Dr. Jack Robbins, Clement Hirsch, and Sherwood Chillingworth, have been universally respected. If MID thought the California Horse Racing Board would automatically assign it Oak Tree’s racing dates, it badly miscalculated.

Instead, at the CHRB’s May 20 meeting, MID CEO Dennis Mills (don’t get too used to him; Stronach goes through second bananas by the bunch) got punted around by commissioner after commissioner.

The real fireworks, however, figure to commence when Stronach is scheduled to address the CHRB at its June 24 meeting. His call for more racing dates won’t come at the expense of Oak Tree, which will race at Hollywood Park or Del Mar if it can’t reach an agreement with MID. Stronach, though, figures to be sitting pretty once Hollywood Park cedes to the wrecking ball; if Santa Anita cops those dates, it can run 10 months a year.

If that’s not good enough, or doesn’t happen quickly enough, some believe Stronach will attempt to shutter Santa Anita for as long as it takes to get favorable terms from the CHRB.

If it comes to that, we wonder why Stronach fought so hard to hold on to Santa Anita. The Thoroughbred Racing Association of California, a group led by California horsemen formed a non-profit and was poised to purchase the Great Race Place when MEC went into bankruptcy. Stronach would have obtained a fair price, and the owners, reportedly aided financially by Keeneland, Fasig-Tipton, and Breeders’ Cup, could have forged a successful operation based on the Oak Tree model. The two sales companies would have helped ensure a stable racing enterprise on the West Coast, whose trainers are major shoppers at auctions in the Midwest and East, and Breeders’ Cup would have the permanent fair-weather site it craves.

While we have always gotten a kick out of Stronach’s rebellious nature, we hope he hasn’t chosen this time, and this racetrack, to overplay his hand. If he doesn’t wish to make a go of Santa Anita, TRAC would be more than happy to own and/or operate the historic venue. 

Lenny Shulman, Features Editor

67 Comments

Leave a Comment:

Robert

Frank Stronach is a guy who thinks he can force the American racing society to do what HE wants.  I would love to know where he gets all this money to buy these tracks for hundreds of millions of dollars, loose another pile of money while he operates them, and them still have money to pay off the debts he runs up while operating them.  He has had some good ideas before, but it has been years since he put forth a coherent idea.  His Board of Directors needs to turn off his money spout and make this man go away!!!  God forbid Santa Anita folds up and closes it doors,  but I can see that happening as long as this man owns the track.

25 May 2010 2:25 PM
Wis Horse Racing Fan

my wife & I love the horses. So much so that we spent our annual vacation traveling to Santa Anita.Everyone we met, from trainers to HRTV employees to track employees treated us wonderfully. everytime we dive deeper into " the game " we surpass the excitement and enjoyment of the last. we save and save throughout the year in order to do so. getting to my point, the only individual who we have not enjoyed is the one who seems to now control our future vacation plans. thanks Frank for the kick in the gut. i wish you would take your monies and go stay in your "fortress " and leave the game to be managed by those who care and are able to do so.

25 May 2010 2:49 PM
Andrew A.

These guys in California keep fighting and trying to one-up one another while horses are leaving on a daily basis.  When they get done arguing they might not be able to fill a three day a week schedule.

Fabulous Frank is "something else" but so are the other bunch of "bananas" that helped run California into the ground.

Monmouth is now my primary track and will be for the forseeable future.  

25 May 2010 2:57 PM
John

Hooray for Frank.  CHRB is drinking kool-aid made from some very sour grapes.  Get over it.  If Frank decides to shut it down good for him.  Its time somebody does something.  Arlington Park ringing in my ears....

25 May 2010 3:05 PM
larry

Frank is your typical business man, socialize the costs and privatize the profits.

25 May 2010 3:08 PM
steve from st louis

Unlike Goldfinger, Frank is "The Man With the Minus Touch"

25 May 2010 3:17 PM
sceptre

Dear Lenny,

Your paragraph, which begins "It's all legal..." confuses me relative to MID's new offer to Oak Tree, and what was Oak Tree's previous deal. Did MID offer Oak Tree $4M per meet plus those extras? If Oak Tree previously was averaging $4M in profits/meet (and giving this to charity) why wasn't MID's offer more than a fair one?..For that matter, I've never understood why an Oak Tree or a Keeneland for that matter, gives away profits to charity while allowing horse owners/breeders to suffer the perpetual loses they incur. It's not as if racehorse ownership is profitable-always a net loss (ex.-approx. $2B training expenses vs. approx.$1B purses. I suppose what I'm suggesting is that "racing" (and breeding today-i.e. the sales) are in no position to be donating to charity. Let this industry first gain some semblance of fiscal health before asking it to go deeper in the hole.  

25 May 2010 3:20 PM
Christian

The business smarts that propelled Stonarch to be the largest automobile parts manufacturer in the world has been completely lost in his Magna Entertainment and now MID horse racing ventures. Magna lost all respect before and during it's bankruptcy and now MID follows in Magna's footsteps. While MID is cutting off its Oak Tree agreement it forms a joint venture between Penn National and the MJC, supposedly to gain Penn National's gaming experience. However Maryland has a regulation that prohibits a slots license holder (Penn owns the license in Cecil County, Maryland) from having an ownership interest in another slots license. A full or miniority slots license owner can not have full or miniority ownership in another.  Does anybody see a way to save us from Stonarch?  How about the states requiring US ownership of tracks in order for the tracks to get racing dates?  Far fetched? Maybe, but if CHRB gives its dates, including those of Holywood Park, to Oak Tree there is a great start.  

25 May 2010 3:33 PM
Manuel B

I like the comment about "socializing the costs and privatizing the profits". That has always been Stronach's modus operandi in all his businesses. Ask Magna investors what they think. Stronach even decided to build a racino in Austria! Great horse racing country, because that's where he's from. It failed miserably.

25 May 2010 3:58 PM
lenny

Sceptre,

Oak Tree must pay MID/Santa Anita the $4 million, plus loan them another $10 million, plus pay for renovation costs. Non-profit corporations by definition can't keep their profits. They can put money back into their facilities or enhance their purses.

25 May 2010 4:07 PM
Mark

Can sommeone please explain to me why California can't operate Slots and Tables at the Track. Make it simple please!

25 May 2010 4:09 PM
Bill Daly

I'm not sure that bankruptcy judge in Delaware did racing in Maryland any favors by allowing MID to bail out MEC. As in California, Mr. Stronach and company make a lot of grandiose promises he has yet to deliver. One CHRB member asked what happened to the "Shoppes at Santa Anita" idea.  Sounds like the same old line we heard in Maryland.

25 May 2010 4:14 PM
Asst. Hotwalker

Frank is like Donald Trump and Daniel Snyder, they stiff everyone through bankrupcy. Shareholder lawsuits are just part of their style of doing business. Racing will be better off without Frank. And the Redskins will be alot better off without Snyder.

25 May 2010 4:52 PM
Rockford

MID is no different it would seem than any other company that has bought into racing, without knowing the problems. The "bean counter" run everything. When gaming companys bought into racing, they loved us. Here is a way to more profits for us. Now that they are in, racing is a "deficet" not an "asset" to them. Racing made a choice to jump into bed with gaming companys, and it has turned out to be a marriage, like oil and water, trying to mix. The bean counters only look at one thing, the bottom line. Racing is going to have a difficult time adjusting to big business,and how they look at racing

25 May 2010 5:07 PM
partly cloudy

Based upon his treatment of his investors and his attitude, he qualifies to become the next president.   Amazing how these guys all live off other people's money and spent it like crazy, and end up with millions while their investors end up broke.  He does not have the best interests of the horses or the sport in mind, just his own greed.

25 May 2010 5:08 PM
TXLonghornFan

When Mr. Stronach reached a deal to purchase Lone Star Park, I - and I'm sure many others - wrote the Texas authorities asking them to tread very carefully with this man because he never follows through on his promises.  Many, many years later Santa Anita still hasn'tbeen developed as a full-fledged entertainment destination, Maryland is a dump, but he did redevelope Gulfstream...and that new track configuration makes it impossible to host the Breeders Cup.  This guy is a trainwreck. Great blog, Lenny!

25 May 2010 5:11 PM
CRob87

Is it just me or......

Does it seem like Stronach (Might) already have a verbal deal in place with the Breeders Cup Committee so that Santa Anita can be the permanent host site for the B.C.

And....

Was (Maybe) just trying to get Oak Tree to bite on a better deal by asking for all that he was ???

I tend to think that people like Stronach always seem to have something underhanded up their sleeve !!!

25 May 2010 5:18 PM
Greg Melikov

Horse racing reminds of today's political arena -- gladiators fighting it out to the last one standing while the sports suffers.

John is right: Frank is your typical business man, socialize the costs and privatize the profits.

Larry is right: Unlike Goldfinger, Frank is "The Man With the Minus Touch"

Bill is right: Frank is like Donald Trump and Daniel Snyder, they stiff everyone through bankrupcy.  

The bottom line: Sharks survive until someone reels them in. So avoid attending or wagering on Frank's tracks. Or quit complaining.

25 May 2010 5:43 PM
BarbarosDerby1328

Frank Stronach is symbolic of what is wrong with our wonderful sport. He is one who places his own interests in front of those who love the sport, and most notably, the sport itself. From having his own energy drink (a drink bearing his name for God's sake) to compromising a long and productive relationship with Oak Tree. Mr. Stronach has had a cancerous affect on the sport that we all love so deeply. As one suggested, this man needs to take his money and get the hell out of town. For as long as this man is involved in the sport, the hope of California racing will remain in dire straights.

25 May 2010 5:49 PM
Tesio

The simple answer is the Frank is a megalomaniac.

25 May 2010 5:50 PM
Harry Buchanan

Frank Stronach is a cancer to horse racing. I worked for the Maryand Jockey Club for 23 years. When Joe Defrancis sold to Magna and Stronach he came in and fired half the racing management team to cut expenses. He has let the Maryland tracks have a slow death. No repairs to the track and no marketing to help promote Maryland racing. There have been 3 CEO since Magna took over. He operates his racing empire with much more expertise than he operates his race tracks.Maryland racing deserves better!!!!!!!!

25 May 2010 5:56 PM
Dionisio Romano

To all of you...Robert...etc...who can't figure out how Frank Stronach came up with all this money to buy racetracks, here's a clue for you:  HE EARNED IT.  He owns the largest auto parts manufacturing business in North America which he started, on his own, after working as a machinist and odd jobs after coming to Canada from Austria.  He saved, and planned, and worked like every other successful entrepreneur in the world.  

I LOVE HORSE RACING, and horse racing has been good to me over the years.  It has also been good to every state that sanctions racing in the U.S. for over a hundred years, contributing BILLIONS of dollars to state tax coffers.

But states have NOT BEEN GOOD to horse racing.  After raising the take out from 2% to over 30% in some cases over the past fifty years it has "tapped out" the industry.

FRANK STRONACH is 100% correct when he says the game has to change to survive.  When are racing fans going to get together and stand up to state legislators who rape us, as gamblers and horse owners, and racetracks everywhere.

WAKE UP all you "Roberts" out there, or there will be no racing for us to enjoy.

25 May 2010 6:49 PM
mwm

If you really want to know about Magna ask people who were at Bay Meadows and Multnomah Greyhound Park in Oregon how he destroyed the buildings when he left them.  People in Oregon were told if we can't take it break it.  Really classy.

25 May 2010 7:18 PM
zed

A trainwreck. That's all one can say about Stronach and his various permutations. We should all curse the day he purchased Santa Anita.

25 May 2010 7:18 PM
Mike Relva

Stronach reflects what's bad in racing.

25 May 2010 8:20 PM
sean

folks i'm jamaican.totally removed from your situation.but if slots are good for racing why isnt it allowed to benefit racing in calif,kentucky maryland,and NY and perhaps others,in some cases adjoining states allow it and those recepient tracs have better purses and racing.??? go figure

25 May 2010 8:39 PM
Bobbeaux

In the words of Bob Dylan, "Money doesn't talk, it swears."  Stronach is exhibit A in the evidence chain that leads to the conclusion that the fans seldom are considered by the decision-makers in horse racing.  He, however, is not the only exhibit.

25 May 2010 8:44 PM
James Jarrell

Do any of you experts know how the 30 cents of every dollar you bet is split up? Check this out and you just may understand why race tracks go broke.

25 May 2010 8:58 PM
rOBERT

Hey "Dionisio Romano"...... I am not a novice in this business.  I have been in it for almost 25 years.  I worked the farm, the track, the sales, the breeding and the racing end of this business.  So I know a thing or two about racing.  Frank "was" good for Racing years ago.  But lately all he has done is bankrupt tracks and M.I.G.  I never said he did not earn his money.  It is what he is doing with that money that bothers me.  It is his to do with as he pleases, as long as it does not ruin other peoples way of life.  Santa Anita is one of the top 5 race tracks in the world......or should I say "WAS" one of the top 5.  It still can be, but Mr Stronach needs to stop the farris wheel of buying and selling the tracks the way he does, and then unloading them at tremendous loses.  Please keep in mind, this is my Opinion, and while you may not like it, I am sure you can understand that all I want is a strong industry with strong race tracks.  Mr Stronach is not taking his tracks down that path.

25 May 2010 9:20 PM
sceptre

Without offering any concrete evidence against Stronach this piece has nonetheless fanned the anti-Stronach sentiments. You implied essentially only two negative assertions: 1. That Stronach shouldn't have attempted to re-negotiate the Oak Tree arrangement, and 2. That he should have sold Santa Anita to TRAC. Let's get real, aren't his positions here both reasonable and justifiable? On a separate note, Frank Stronach's racetrack "empire" difficulties likely have very little to do with poor management, but rather are symptomatic of thoroughbred racing's woes-they were simply too much for even a Stronach to overcome. Much of his accomplishments in racing and breeding should be admired, not the least of which are his family's efforts to protect and re-train countless ex-racers. Frank Stronach is too easy a target. I suggest that you re-direct your animosities to those in this business far more deserving of scorn.          

25 May 2010 9:31 PM
Richard

Santa Anita may run ten months out of the year,  but what will they run?  A handful of match races five days a week?  Stronach will continue to throw good money after bad....so long as it's not his money.

25 May 2010 9:38 PM
mike rullo

lenny,

why do you think stronach who likes a dirt surface, doesnt want to switch back??? why??

25 May 2010 9:58 PM
OLD TIMER

The blogger who compared Stronach to Trump hit the nail right on the head. Both of them are Mr. Big Shot and wheeling and dealing all over the place, but if you happen to be any entity who has had the misfortune to lend them money, you would not think that they are so great.

It puzzles me in one sense because as an owner and breeder Stronach appears to care for the sport. However he has left devastation in his wake with regard to the tracks.

Oak Tree may find it better to cut and run. There are other venues that they could use for their meeting and tell Mr. Frank to take a hike.

The sport is in bad enough shape already. The quicker they get Mr. Stronach out of the picture, the better.

25 May 2010 10:03 PM
Deacon

Horse racing Armaggedon may come sooner then the prophsized Nov. 2012, and at the hands of Mr. Stronach. Never liked him, he is void of passion for the sport, history and protection of the sport and the little guy, more commonly called the racing fans.

He should be ashamed of himself. I would hate to see such a beautiful venue like Hollywood Park be destroyed, so much history and elegance there. The names of the past champions who have raced there are a who's who of west coast thoroughbreds. Seabiscuit,

Swaps, Dr. Fager, Native Diver, Ack Ack, Cougar II, Quack, just to name a few.

Such a sorry state of affairs.......  

26 May 2010 1:28 AM
mike

Stronach destroyed Gulfstream Park with his idiotic 'mall' concept.Like most of the clueless running racing, the guy is completely out of touch with the wants/needs of the people who support the game at the windows.

 

[edited by moderator for content] 

26 May 2010 8:01 AM
berttheclock

Dionsio Romano makes a great Tory rant about how "he earned it".  Well, sir, this nation has had some great Conservatives who have not only earned their money, but, used it to improve horse racing.  If, Stronach was using his money to improve his racing facilities and leaving the breeding to his son, I would have no problems with the Canadian Tory.  However, as several have mentioned, he, rarely, improves his facilities.  However, you are correct about the states taking far too much from the sport.

But, kudos to you, Mr Shulman, for your excellent comments regarding Bob Costas in the Preakness issue of BH.  Ever since, Costas snubbed Jim McKay at CD, I have not watched any of his work.  He treated the legendary Mr McKay shamefully.  You were, also, quite correct in your astute takedown of NBC.

26 May 2010 8:26 AM
Lenny Shulman

Mike,

It's money. New racing surfaces cost millions, and he's not in the mood to make those kinds of investments these days. However, representatives have been reported to be looking at dirt tracks in Argentina and elsewhere, so perhaps there will an announcement in the not so distant future.

26 May 2010 8:28 AM
Don

Lenny, loved your blog but do not understand how Stronach ended up with Santa Anita if, in fact, there was another group poised to make an offer. Certainly a bankruptcy judge and Magna creditors would have given a serious bid serious consideration. Can you clarify?

26 May 2010 9:19 AM
DonW

To answer the question of why Santa Anita cannot have slots: The Indian casino interests got the citizens to vote in a constitutional amendment that essentially makes it impossible. In return for a paltry transfer of funds to the state, the Indian casinos have a monopoly for most machine based gambling and prevent its expansion.

26 May 2010 9:39 AM
Isaac Murphy

Stronach would be much better for the industry if he just focused on breeding, sales and racing. He has proven that he is out of his league when trying to implement his "vision" for the future of racing.

26 May 2010 10:01 AM
johnny mack

Deja Vu all over again.I remember the same thing happening at a track in Florida,where the owner also shuttered the track.

26 May 2010 10:08 AM
Karen in Indiana

There is a word for what Mr. Stronach is touting - it's called hypercapitalism and it's what has gotten this country in the mess it's in. Capitalism without regulation is a parasite that sucks the life out of its host. After reading the 'terms' (blackmail) of the new agreement offered to Oak Tree, who in their right mind would agree with Mr. Stronach's reasoning? I like his vision at Gulfstream, but he has to be reigned in and his bluff needs to be called.

26 May 2010 10:10 AM
swaps

When Stronach bought the Maryland track and then fired half the people he was only following the business plan for mega-moguls. In industry after industry megalomaniacs and their banking allies have assembled huge corporations and then fired people so that money "wasted" on wages could be diverted to debt service income for the banks.

Now that he has Santa Anita again, Stronach is simply taking steps to cover his latest debt load to the banks. He is firing Oak Tree.

When Zayat, another big borrower, used tens of millions of borrowed money to buy horses none of the sellers complained.

All these tracks that Stronach bought with banker money were sold by people who wanted to take the money and run. Tracks are like newspapers and retail chains and manufacturing concerns - just something for the bankers and the megalomaniacs to pillage for short term gain.  

26 May 2010 11:06 AM
Larry

PLEEEEZE ! People talking about the good old day's. When Joe DeFrancis began the dismantling of all his pop's progress and goodwill. Remember he was (and alway's) a litigation attorney, and treated every issue as such. I have seen everthing Stronach has done. Can you really hold him  responsible for the game's slide, it seem's to gain momentum every year. Wrong or right he is the ONLY person to have put his own $$$$ to try something new and inventive. As a longtime horseman I guess I do not like what he has done (especially at Gulfstream). But hell, it is the first New facility in year's that might take the game into the future. My crew is gone by 60%, to death, finance's and the usual shenanigan's. No replacement's have arrived ! Leaving Gulfstream near the end of the meet I was stunned at an extinct specie's sighting. Many female under age 50 with male's following. By the way you do not hear a peep from the blueblood's who extorted $$$$$ from the sport and got to enjoy there crop's breaking a maiden for 25k for some unsuspecting sucker, never to return.

26 May 2010 12:36 PM
Redhorserun

Frank Stronach is a scourge upon the racetracks he owns. While his breeding operation appears to be first-class, what he has done to the tracks he has owned is an abomination.

As a horseman at Thistledown in Cleveland, I have watched for 10+ years as he has siphoned the life out of us, cutting racing days and purses, all the while citing losses. During his time as owner, he made no effort to do anything for the horsemen or the fans - except take their money and treat them like they deserved to lose. But if he was losing so much money on the place, why did he request to be able to bid as a separate entity in the bankruptcy auction of the track yesterday? (Thankfully, the court said "no" and Harrah's is the new owner.)

I know I speak for all horsemen in northern Ohio when I say "Good riddance!!!"

26 May 2010 12:57 PM
MH

I want to reiterate what BarbarosDerby1328 said:

"Frank Stronach is symbolic of what is wrong with our wonderful sport. He is one who places his own interests in front of those who love the sport, and most notably, the sport itself."

26 May 2010 1:04 PM
jOHN

Stronach destroyed Gulfstream Park with his idiotic 'mall' concept.Like most of the clueless running racing, the guy is completely out of touch with the wants/needs of the Horsemen!!!!!!!!!

26 May 2010 1:14 PM
BigBadLeroy

To; Lenny the answer about the track running slots and table games in California is simple. Indian Casinos have a monopoly on the industry cause of that clown Arnold the recall gov. They worked out a deal to stop any further casinos from popping up as long as they pay taxes. He gets a cut from it you know it. Lenny you have good question. California has a lot crooked people in state office. Ken Maddy was the last good senator we had that cared of the horse racing industry. I am tired about this too. Slots and table games could be implemented anytime , but the Indian Casinos have a stronghold they need to go the way of the dinosaurs. They need to become instinct. Go away soon better than later.

26 May 2010 5:29 PM
lllefty

Briefly put, Stronach is toxic.

Example: his ownership of the Maryland Jockey Club and mishandling of the slot's initiative.

26 May 2010 5:52 PM
terrang

Sorry that swaps was already in use.

It's just not in horse racing. In industry after industry people with connections to big banks have been accumulating companies by giving sellers huge buyouts.  Then the buyers have cut costs, often firing people so that "wasted wages" can be paid to the banks as interest on the new debt.

Stronach got rid of the old debt and the old shareholders and took back Santa Anita.  But he had to fire Oak Tree because he has to squeeaze money out of the operation to pay debt service.

Fiat money created out of thin air but loaned out at interest makes capitalism self destructive when it is only used to buy existing companies at marked up prices.

26 May 2010 6:50 PM
So Cal Racer

Stronach is draging Santa Anita down during the winter meet, problem on rain on Pro Ride that does not work, resulted on lost race day.. they should left the track the way it is Dirt.. still no care to change to better track surface.. Stronach is head ache to racing industry, hopefully they will find a better substitute..

26 May 2010 9:42 PM
Anna Luna

MID gave Oak Tree Assn. an offer they COULD NOT ACCEPT...just do the math.  The contract that was in place prior to being voided allowed for only a 25% net profit for the Oak Tree Assn...about 1.34M annually while SA was getting 75% WHICH WAS 4M PLUS the 2.5M annual lease agreement for the costs associated with hosting the Oak Tree meet at the SA venue. Yet, Oak Tree Assn. has  managed to donate 20M over 40 years, roughly 500K per year to charitable causes associated with horseracing.

Now let's review MID's current offer...of taking the 75% of net profit (currently 4M) PLUS the 2.5M annual lease agreement PLUS getting a 10M loan from Oak Tree Racing Assn. with no principal payments for 2 yrs. PLUS 25% of costs for all capital improvements made to SA AND having Oak Tree Assn. give up an extra 1M during BC hosting years if it ever comes back to SA!!!

So Mr. Stronach, as head of MID as well as MEC, please open up negotiations with the THOC to get a fair market price for yourself and your MID shareholders, walk away and enable The Great Race Place to be once again all that it can be....A place (quoting roughly from Pres. Lincoln) "...of the horseracing fans, by the horseracing fans and for the horseracing fans and all those who love and care about it's future...the REAL stakeholders. Because without the fan, the horses, trainers, owners,etc.  you don't have a future nor do you have a sport. So please Mr. Stronach and Company, walk away.

26 May 2010 11:12 PM
sarcsm1

With the trouble horse racing is having across the entire country, it is laughable to hear some of you blame Stronach.  Horseracing is in trouble. That is a fact and not the old school guys or the New guys have been able to fix it. Fact: it is based on an old structure from before cars. We do not have a  National organization, nor are we getting any closer to one.  This can't be blamed on Stronach.  He is just an easy person to blame.  How many of the tracks he bought would be in the same state as Bay Meadows?  How many of you complainers stepped up and put up your money to save ANY racetracks.  Everyone makes  mistakes, but he is at least trying to better racing.  Why do we so attack someone who is attempting to help racing.  Really, who wants to step into his shoes? We all should be trying to work with, rather than against ANYONE trying to help racing.  Wake up, unity only can help racing.

26 May 2010 11:14 PM
Bob

An Oak tree insider told a friend of mine that when Stronach purchased the race track he really didn't understand that the fall racing dates belonged to Oak Tree and not to Santa Anita.  Ever since then he has done what he can to make things as tough as possible on Oak Tree and who would have thought that going bankrupt would have gotten him what he wanted.

It would have been great if the TRA would have purchased Santa Anita because they are all about horse racing and nothing else.   The glory days of horse racing is when men like Strub, Haskell, and Weidner ran things.  These were men who truly loved the game and understood that they weren't going to make $100 million owning a race track.  They didn't care though because they loved the game so much and they understood the sport.

I think Frank Stronach loves horse racing.  But he is a businessman first and the way society is today big business just isn't into nostalgia and not making much money.

It's going to be very difficult for racing to survive with the way things are today.  It's a shame but once you took the class and sport out of horse racing you started digging the hole that it is now.

26 May 2010 11:58 PM
Jammer

REMEMBER -

WHATEVER FRANK WANTS, FRANK GETS!!!

JAMMER

27 May 2010 1:44 AM
Dom

If you qualify for Chapter 7  bankruptcy, you are headed into a no-asset case. In this situation, you cannot give up your assets to the trustee. The "means of day-to-day living," such as your house, are often protected under Chapter 7. You will have to give up any money you have outside of your retirement accounts, but physical assets are almost always protected.

www.bankruptcydistrictcourt.com

27 May 2010 5:05 AM
smartyjones1

here's a guy who made a MESS of the racing industry...ruined gulfstream park..gobbled up a bunch of smaller

tracks-the only thing i can agree with him on is his hatred for poly/synth tracks..

other than that...he is just another

in the long line of morons who are destroying the once great racing industry...lets adress the issues and get 1 governing board...there are too many race's-too many b,c & even d tracks...it's time to organize,,,get a solid major tv contract-if nascar could do it anyone can-wake up

27 May 2010 5:47 AM
Robert M

Frank Stronach has done more than any other single individual to hurt racing.  Please Oak Tree do a deal with Del Mar or Hollywood Park.  Get rid of Frank!

27 May 2010 6:18 AM
Kent

I am a second generation horseman and my family has been in the business for over 50 years.It is very dishearting to read all of the negative words about Frank Stronach. My father was Frank's first trainer in the business and he had nothing but the upmost respect for Frank Stronach as a businessman, person and visonary for our business. Let's be honest, in most of the cases regarding  the states were the racing ventures did not come to flurish, it was not because of Frank Stronach, he invested into these tracks to keep racing alive, and in hopes that casino's would be granted to raise purses for horsemen. The states made sure by not voting in favour of slots and casino's, that his ventures could not make it. On track attendence has fallen dramatically, from the glory days of racing, and without a betting public or casino revenue, how could the tracks be sucessful. We all should be thanking him for trying to keep the sport of king's on the forefront of the sporting world, not taking the many steps back as it has in the last two decades,most of the track's in question would have closed down without Frank stepping in at a time when noone else was willing to even look twice at the books of these tracks, let alone buy them. I would personally like to thank Mr. Stronach for his contributions to racing, a sport that we all love, and noone can question the investment he has made to breeding in this business, I am sure at one point or another, most owners and trainers alike have had horses that he has breed and we have raced and made money.

27 May 2010 8:08 AM
Nancy

Based on what I read when I was new to racing in the mid-2000s I thought Stronach was a 'good guy'.  Over the last several years my opinion of him has changed to the negative.  He has his own agenda based on his massive ego (like Donald Trump).  Yes, he might have done some good things for racing and breeding earlier on, but now he is a detriment to racing.  I think the bankruptcy courts were too lenient with him.  Based on Lenny's article, his business plan going forward is disastrous for Santa Anita, California and racing.  The fields are getting so small, 4-5 horses, in many races that I don't see how added race dates will help any track let alone the California ones.  I would suggest that fewer race dates - Thursdays through Sundays with night racing on Thurs. & Fridays - would enhance attendance and handle. Racing and California has already lost an excellent trainer - Greg Gilchrist, not to mention how many in the future will decide on quitting given the state of racing and the squabbling and stalling by the power brokers and meglomaniacs.

But what do I know? I'm only a lover of horses and safe racing!

27 May 2010 10:21 AM
very concerned

Frank;  Please sell Santa Anita to someone who cares about Horse Racing.  Its Obvious you dont.

  The Only point Frank has is that on the playing field of gambling.  The indians, can gamble 24/7  and Horse racing dates are controlled by CHRB.  This is not right.

27 May 2010 10:27 AM
average joe

Her's a GREAT novel Idea !!! ... Every major racetrack in a state should be OWNED by the Thoroughbred / owners's assocuation of each state the track is located in ... Purses would increase, uniformity of rules would be in place and the industry would thrive like never before !

27 May 2010 4:05 PM
Thom in Maryland

One writer posted that all this article did was "fan the anti-Stronach flames" without specifics.  The person who posted that comment must not be near a racetrack owned by Stronach's MAGNA or MID. Their ownership combined with defrancis greed & hubris ruined Maryland racing. Pimlico is a dump and they screwed up slots at Laurel.  

27 May 2010 5:09 PM
eric jensen

califonia's board needs to know that frank is here to stay, even though the horsemen hate him and he does not care, that's why allot of horsemen have got out of califonia causing small fields, the horse owners are leaving also because they can not make any money in califonia they tax everybody to death.where the eastern tracks have big fields and that's what the gambler want's califonia has been going down for years look how many foals are being foaled in the state, the breeder's are getting a bad shake, they want to tax these mares and foals before they even get to the races.the breeder's should get the bonnus money and this would cause more horses to be born in califonia

30 May 2010 12:19 PM
markinsac

Framk Stongarm is a joke at a time when Calif racing is a sinking ship.  To those who ask, "Why not install slots at Calif tracks?"  The simple answer is the Calif politicians are heavily funded by the Indian Casinos who have a monopoly on Calif slots, even though they aren't technically part of Calif.  Their casinos are located on their reservations, which are deemed a sovergn nation, even though Calif government regulates them, so to speak  . . . I hope that was simple to understand.  Meanwhile, as a small group of Indians go from being the poorest in the state to the richest, the racing industry is which employs thousands falls apart.  Part of the fault is the Racing industry itself.  It's offering gambling at odds that are impossible to beat!  Even those getting offshore rebates can only hope to break even, those suckers who show up to the track every day, will one of you step forward and claim you are beating the game?  ONE?

30 May 2010 9:02 PM
eric

this is the first thing stronach has done right.  he's saved the BC from trying to operate at SA permanently.  thank you frank!

31 May 2010 1:41 AM
James

Eric, that was my reasoning in 1995, when I just lost everything. If you don't do homework and are strictly gambling. Yes, you'd never win.. Same thing with lousy Las Vegas and its house rigged games. But if you read horse-racing books. Read Dick Mitchell and bet to win only. You have a chance. No one is educating themselves to beat this game. In Las Vegas or at The Indian Casinos, if we educate ourselves and get good. They will ban us from the premises. In horse racing educating yourself and improvement as a player is welcome.  Betting to win, many can achieve 25 percent winners at a 10 dollar average. No one wants to try and no one believes. Horse racing gives us that chance and I do profit. I easily get 25 percent at 10 dollars. It can be done and excuses don't work. Horseracing is fairer  and more profitable for skilled players than any nonsense casino game. where they will ban us, if we get good.

05 Jun 2010 2:16 PM

Recent Posts

More Blogs

Archives