Presently, high-level executives from TSG--Tim Ritvo was notably absent at Wednesday's Florida Derby post draw--are looking at a potential deal that would have it to purchase Parx Racing from the track’s holding company, Greenwood Racing & Entertainment, HRI has learned.
This would be one of the final significant pieces to the puzzle of how revive Thoroughbred racing at tracks in Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania.
In a unanimous opinion, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday said that the Gaming Board had failed to “adequately explore” the extent of the holders of Greenwood's primary backer, Watche "Bob" Manoukian.
Manoukian, a highly successful Lebanese businessman, owns 85.84 percent of Parx Racing under the Greenwood Racing & Entertainment franchise and his ownership interest in a second casino in Philadelphia is limited by law.
In the interim, the State Court has remanded the matter back to the Gaming and Control Board.
Like everyone tethered to the gaming industry, Manoukian has more interest in casinos than he has in owning racetracks. Enter the Stronach Group, which appears more than willing to take control of Manoukian’s interests in Parx Racing, whole or in part.
All this fits very neatly in the Stronach Group’s plans to revitalize racing in Maryland, which has been underway in recent years at Laurel Race Course.
The model for the revitalization process involves making racing in the Mid-Atlantic region viable again, not just subsistent. As everyone knows, a shortage of horses and overlapping dates has crippled Thoroughbred racing in the region.
The Stronach Group has made no secret of the fact it believes that establishing a circuit of tracks working in concert instead of in competition is essential to the sport’s survival now and in the future.
Working out a schedule among Parx, Delaware and the Maryland tracks are at the heart of this. Bringing a struggling Monmouth into the mix might only add to the stability to the game in that part of the racing world. Stay tuned.