01/18/2010 12:00AM

Auction of Maryland tracks pushed back


An auction of Magna Entertainment's two Maryland racetracks, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, has been pushed back from Jan. 21 to Feb. 10, according to bankruptcy court filings.

Magna Entertainment requested the change in date, but the company's attorneys did not state a reason in the filings. The auction had already been postponed once, from Jan. 8 to Jan. 21.

Magna officials did not immediately return phone calls on Monday morning.

Magna filed for bankruptcy last March, and it has been attempting to sell many of its racing properties as a way of paying down hundreds of millions of dollars in debt. Last Monday, Magna announced that it had reached an agreement to settle a lawsuit filed by its unsecured creditors committee that would allow its parent company, MI Developments, to swap its debt for equity in three racetracks, as part of a larger reorganization. Magna's attorneys told the court they would file a detailed reorganization plan based on the settlement by Feb. 12.

According to Magna, six companies made bids on Laurel and Pimlico, including the Cordish Cos., a real-estate development firm; Penn National Gaming Inc., a national casino company; the family of Joe De Francis, who is a former co-owner of the properties; and Blow Horn Equity Group, which is headed by Jeff Seder, the owner of a bloodstock consultancy.

Magna has not identified a lead bidder for the properties. The lead bidder's proposal will form the basis for the Feb. 25 auction.