Santa Anita Park has new ownership, and although Frank Stronach once again leads that ownership, this time his Stronach Group is the sole owner.
Toronto-based Stronach Group announced in a brief media release today that it has acquired the racing and gaming assets formerly held by Stronach’s MI Developments Inc. (MID) as part of a previously announced reorganization proposal approved by MID shareholders on March 29.
Stronach’s Magna Entertainment spun off these assets into MID last year during a bankruptcy process.
Stronach’s daughter Belinda Stronach, whose name is not very familiar to locals, entered the Santa Anita spotlight in a media statement in which she is quoted as President and Chief Executive Officer of The Stronach Group. She mentioned not only horse racing but also gaming in her statement: “The acquisition of MID’s racing and gaming assets positions The Stronach Group at the forefront of the Thoroughbred horseracing industry. We are fully committed to ensuring the success and profitability of our strong portfolio of racing and gaming operations. We also look forward to working with the horseracing industry and all of its stakeholders to ensure the long-term success and viability of the industry.”
The racing and gaming assets acquired by The Stronach Group include: Santa Anita Park; Golden Gate Fields; Portland Meadows; MID’s joint venture interests in Maryland Jockey Club’s real estate and racing assets (Pimlico Race Course, Laurel Park and the Bowie Training Center); Gulfstream Park and MID’s joint venture interest in an associated retail development; horseracing technology assets, including Xpressbet, AmTote and MID’s joint venture interest in HRTV, a cable and satellite television network dedicated to the sport of horse racing; as well as various development properties previously owned by MID.
What this all means is unclear but in theory the Stronach’s are more free to make moves of any nature without stockholder approval. Frank Stronach recently said that as soon as he got full control of Santa Anita Park, he would try to get Rick Caruso back to the negotiating table to discuss resurrecting their Shops at Santa Anita partnership in some form. Caruso publicly announced earlier this month that he was ending his interest in that venture due to frustration with the lack of progress.
The Stronach Group is a privately-held consortium that owns, operates and manages a number of leading businesses in a wide range of industries, including: Thoroughbred racing and gaming; Thoroughbred horse breeding; agriculture; electric vehicle technologies; and medical technologies. The Stronach Group also owns a number of premier development properties and real estate assets in North America and Europe.
The Stronach Group is a joint venture partner with Magna International Inc. in Magna E-Car Systems, which designs, develops and manufactures hybrid and electric vehicle systems, modules and components, as well as complete hybrid and electric vehicles.
— By Scott Hettrick