05/02/2002 11:00PM

Magna income down

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Magna Entertainment Corp., the owner of Santa Anita Park and Gulfstream Park, had net income of $18.6 million in the first quarter of 2002, or 22 cents a share, the company announced Friday.

Net income was down from $22.5 million in the first quarter of 2001, when Magna sold real estate for $26.2 million. Magna had real estate sales of only $600,000 in the first quarter this year, the company said.

Magna operates 11 racetracks in the U.S., and the first quarter has historically been its best quarter. In the first three months of the year, three of Magna's most popular racetracks - Santa Anita, Gulfstream, and Golden Gate Fields - hold live race meets.

According to the company's financial statements, wagering revenues in the first quarter were up $28.1 million over last year, from $192.3 million in 2001 to $220.4 million in 2002. Racetrack operating expenses were up $25.3 million, from $181.2 million last year to $206.5 million.

During the quarter, Magna launched an Internet and telephone wagering business called XpressBet, coinciding with the legalization of account wagering in California in January. The company also reached an agreement to purchase Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas, for $99 million.

Results of the quarter include operations at Multnomah Greyhound Park in Oregon and Ladbroke at the Meadows, both of which Magna acquired last year after the first quarter ended.

Earnings per-share were in line with the estimates of analysts. Magna's stock closed on Friday at $8, up 10 cents.