05/02/2005 12:00AM

Magna loses on quarter


Magna Entertainment Corp., the owner or operator of 13 racetracks in North America, lost $4.1 million in the first quarter of 2005, a sharp decline from its first quarter results last year, when the company made $21.1 million, according to financial statements released Tuesday.

The loss is the first posted by Magna in a first quarter since the company was formed in 1998. Magna operates its two most popular racetracks, Santa Anita and Gulfstream, in the first quarter, and it has generally relied on the results from those tracks to offset relatively meager returns or net losses during the remainder of the year.

In a release, Magna officials said that revenue in California for the first quarter was down $33 million from last year's first quarter, because of record rains during the first part of the year and the shift of dates from its Golden Gate Fields in northern California from the first quarter to later in the year. In Florida, where the recently concluded Gulfstream meet was conducted under tents because of an ongoing renovation project, revenue was down $6.7 million, the company said.

In total, revenue for the first quarter was $252.4 million, down 13.6 percent compared with $291.8 million in the first quarter last year.

Over the past three years, Magna has lost $214 million. It last turned a profit in 2001.