Magna Entertainment Corp. said in bankruptcy court filings it won't consider auction bids that would move the Preakness Stakes from Maryland, a decision cheered Tuesday by Gov. Martin O'Malley. The Ontario, Canada-based company submitted auction plans Friday in federal bankruptcy court in Wilmington, Del.
Concerned about the future of the second leg of the Triple Crown, Maryland lawmakers had approved legislation in April giving Maryland eminent domain authority to buy the race, a centerpiece of Maryland's horse racing industry.
"Maryland has a rich tradition of horse racing and horse breeding, and these industries generate thousands of jobs and millions of dollars for the local economy," O'Malley said in a statement, adding that he was pleased by Magna's decision.
The race has been run each May since 1909 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. The O'Malley administration has estimated that Maryland race tracks generate about 20,000 jobs and have an annual economic impact of $1.5 billion.
Magna has asked a federal bankruptcy judge to hold a Jan. 8 auction for the Maryland Jockey Club assets, which include Laurel Park in Anne Arundel County and the Bowie Training Center in Prince George's County.
The company's proposal notes that a 60-day period for the state's statutory right of first refusal, if any, would begin on Nov. 9, and the state would have to inform Magna by Jan. 8 whether the state will participate in the auction.
Baltimore developer David Cordish has said his firm will bid on Pimlico, Laurel Park and the Preakness, and that he also is interested in buying the training center in Bowie. Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos, a successful hometown lawyer, has expressed a willingness to back the effort to keep the Preakness in Maryland.
The 135th Preakness is scheduled for May 15, 2010.
Sea The Stars retired ahead of Breeders' Cup
Sea The Stars was retired Tuesday after becoming the first horse to complete a sweep of three top European races in the same season.
The 3-year-old Irish colt's victory in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe this month followed triumphs in the English 2000 Guineas and Derby to make it six Group One wins in a row.
"We feel it is unfair to keep him going any further given his unprecedented record of achievement in the last six months," trainer John Oxx said. "He's come out of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in his usual good form. He is fit and healthy and has been cantering since the race."
Oxx said he has no details on his stud career.
During two years on the track, Sea The Stars lost just one of his nine races — in his debut — and earned about $7 million.
The retirement denies Sea The Stars the chance for a final triumph at the Breeders' Cup Classic on Nov. 7.
Hoosier Park lifts month-long quarantine
The Hoosier Park racetrack in Anderson, Ind., has lifted a quarantine put in place after two Thoroughbreds tested positive for a contagious infection that can kill horses in some cases.
Hoosier Park officials say the 54 horses that were placed in quarantine Sept. 12 have all been moved off the grounds of the central Indiana track. The quarantine started after one Thoroughbred at the stable began exhibiting signs of equine strangles, a bacterial disease common in horses that can be life-threatening.
Racing manager Jeffrey Smith said no other horses have shown signs of the disease. He said the quarantined barn is being disinfected and won't be used again this season.