10/30/2001 12:00AM

Magna building training facility

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BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. - Ground was broken officially Tuesday at Palm Meadows in Boynton Beach, a 304-acre state-of-the-art training facility being built by Magna Entertainment to serve as a stabling and training center for use in conjunction with Gulfstream Park. Gulfstream is one of eight Thoroughbred tracks owned by Magna.

Palm Meadows, which is located 47 miles north of Gulfstream Park, just off the Florida Turnpike, will provide stabling for up to 1,900 horses. It will have three separate training tracks, including a one-mile grass course, when the complex is completed. The main dirt track will be 1 1/8 miles in circumference. The inner dirt track will be seven furlongs.

Magna officials said 20 barns with a total of 640 stalls will be built in phase one of the construction. The targeted completion date for phase one is set for the fall of 2002, which would make the facility operational for the opening of the 2003 Gulfstream Park meeting.

"We are delighted with the success of Gulfstream Park and look forward to growing our Florida based operations," said Magna Entertainment chairman of the board Frank Stronach. "The training center is a major step in this process."

"Palm Meadows will significantly elevate the quality of racing at Gulfstream Park," said track president and general manager Scott Savin. "It will be good both for racing and the Florida economy."

Gulfstream Park will race an expanded schedule in 2002, opening Jan. 3 and running through April 24.

Stall space will be at a premium in south Florida this winter as a result of the closing of Hialeah Park and its stable facilities, which traditionally house more than 1,000 horses.

Last year, Hialeah's barns provided approximately 20 starters per day during the Gulfstream meet.