06/03/2002 11:00PM

Magna buying Toronto track


Frank Stronach's Magna Entertainment Corp. has reached an agreement to acquire Flamboro Downs, a harness track and casino outside Toronto, Canada, for $47 million, the company announced late Tuesday.

Flamboro runs live harness racing 260 days a year on a half-mile track and operates 750 slot machines under an agreement with state regulators. The track receives 10 percent of the net win from the slot machines, and horsemen at the track receive another 10 percent.

Magna said it would pay $21 million in cash for the 220-acre track and take on a $26 million mortgage. The track's highest-profile race is the $600,000 Confederation Cup.

Magna Entertainment already owns seven tracks, including Santa Anita and Gulfstream, and has lease agreements to operate three others. Earlier this year, Magna also reached an agreement to purchase Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas, for $99 million, with the transaction expected to close in late summer.

Magna officials have said that they hope to acquire three to five tracks in the next several years. The company is also negotiating with the Maryland Jockey Club to buy Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course.

Flamboro will give the company year-round content for its planned television network, HorseRacing TV, and steady cash flow from the track's slot machines. Magna officials could not be reached for comment late on Tuesday.