More Evidence That Horse Racing Has Fallen Off the Track was originally published on City Desk on Feb. 17, 2009, at 1:24 pm
Andrew Beyer wrote a devastating column about the odd behavior of Magna Entertainment, the owner of Maryland’s two Thoroughbred racetracks, during the application process for a slot machine license.
The story appeared on Page E3, inside the sports section.
Beyer details how Magna, after years of crying about how unless slots come to the racetrack the racetrack will go away, didn’t even file a sufficient application with the state for a license.
As a result, Magna has been kicked out of the running to even get any machines at Laurel Park or Pimlico.
Instead, a shopping mall in Anne Arundel County will get the slots Magna allegedly coveted.
Though Beyer makes Magna’s elimination from the licensing process sound permanent, there are probably several more court cases to go before it’s a done deal.
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Bad as it looks right now, given the power of the racing lobby in the state, I’d bet the tracks, if they really do want slots, eventually do get slots — no matter how big a mess Magna has made.
Racing’s bigger problem over the long term, the way I see it, comes in the Post’s placement of Beyer’s story.
The fact that an amazing, newsworthy column written by the most important turf writer of all time gets buried on the bottom left portion of an inside page — on a holiday, no less — sure seems like a harbinger of racing’s apocalypse. Slots or no slots.