05/08/2004 12:00AM

Liebau president of new associaton


SAN MATEO, Calif. - The Bay Meadows Land Company, owner of Bay Meadows Racetrack, has taken a major step towards running its own race meet with the formation of the Bay Meadows Racing Association, which will operate the track beginning Jan. 1, 2005.

The Bay Meadows Land Company currently leases the track to Magna Entertainment Corporation, which holds two race meets per year at the facility and also owns nearby Golden Gate Fields. The creation of the new entity, however, signals that the company will not extend its lease with Magna when it expires on Dec. 31.

Terry Fancher, chief executive officer of Bay Meadows Land Company, named F. Jack Liebau president of Bay Meadows Racing Association. Liebau served as president of Bay Meadows from 1992 through January 2004 and was also Magna's president of California operations from November 2000 to January 2004.

Liebau immediately appointed Charlene Kiley as the racing association's chief financial operator, a post Kiley, the current Bay Meadows Land Company controller, held at Bay Meadows from 1998-2000.

"In baseball parlance, Terry's the general manager. I'm the field manager," Liebau said.

Fancher said Magna had been notified of the Bay Meadows Land Company's plans.

Both the Bay Meadows Land Company and Magna requested dates at the California Horse Racing Board's dates committee meeting last month and must submit final proposals to the committee by May 15.

The committee will the decide between the two requests.

Bay Meadows Land Company continued to make capital improvements at the track even when it was leased by Magna, but Fancher admits the company will continue to seek entitlements from San Mateo for other uses for the land.

"That process has already run for four years, and it could run at least three more years," he said. "We don't know what the entitlements will allow us to do or what the economic climate will be. We will run live racing for the foreseeable future."

Fancher said the decision to form his own management team was not influenced by an initiative that may be on the California ballot in November that could lead to slot machines being installed at racetracks.

He did say, "slot machines, if approved, would enhance racing and strengthen the likelihood of racing remaining at Bay Meadows."