05/27/2009 11:00PM

Magna interest deadline comes

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Parties wishing to bid on the assets that bankrupt Magna Entertainment Corp. plans to offer at auction later this year had until 5 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday to notify Magna of their interest, though the identities of any such party had not been made public Wednesday afternoon.

The deadline was the first step in Magna's planned auction of Santa Anita Park in Southern California, Lone Star Park in Texas, Remington Park in Oklahoma, Thistledown in Ohio, Portland Meadows in Oregon, and a handful of other properties.

Officials of Miller Buckfire, a bankruptcy consulting firm that is handling the auction process, did not return phone calls.

Magna hopes to raise hundreds of millions of dollars through the auction in order to pay down a portion of its debt so that it can emerge from bankruptcy later this year.

The Wednesday deadline required interested parties to demonstrate to Magna that they would have the "financial wherewithal" to bid on the properties they would be seeking, according to court filing. The bidders were also required to sign confidentiality agreements that would allow them to review financial documents related to the properties during due diligence.

Several companies have already expressed public interest. Halsey Minor, a technology entrepreneur, has said he has informed Magna that he is interested in buying all its properties with the exception of Gulfstream Park. Several real-estate developers in Maryland have expressed interest in Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park, and the Chickasaw Nation has said that it has sought information on Lone Star Park and Remington Park.

Formal bids for the auction properties will be taken on July 31. The auction to determine the buyers is scheduled for Sept. 8.

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the party who has expressed interest in Lone Star and Remington. It is the Chickasaw Naton, not the Choctaw Nation.