09/07/2007 12:00AM

Magna move no death knell

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AUBURN, Wash. - Wednesday's announcement that Magna Entertainment Corp. will put Portland Meadows, along with Thistledown in Ohio, up for sale has caused a good deal of consternation among Northwest fans and horsemen. The situation is not quite as dire as may be imagined, however.

"People should understand that we are proceeding with our plans to run a race meeting at Portland Meadows in 2007-08," said Dwayne Yuzik, general manager at Portland Meadows, "and that we are proceeding with our legal options regarding instant-racing machines.'

Underlying Wednesday's announcement is Magna's need to cut its ongoing losses. The company has lost more than $325 million over the past three years and is carrying about $500 million in debt on its balance sheet. Portland Meadows accounted for only about $100,000 of those losses in 2006, however, and it may turn a small profit this year. A more pressing reason for putting the Portland track on the market regards the instant-racing machines. Based on approval granted by the Oregon Racing Commission, Portland Meadows spent more than $1 million preparing a space for the machines, which offer wagering on replays of unidentified races, only to have the state's attorney general declare the machines illegal. It is that ruling that Magna plans to contest in court.

Meanwhile, Portland Meadows plans to race 60 days from Oct. 7, 2007. through March 11, 2008, with a minimum of 540 races. Yuzik said the track will present an application to that effect at the Oregon Racing Commission's next scheduled meeting on Sept. 30.

Yuzik said Wednesday's announcement, though upsetting, can serve a salutary purpose.

"I think the transparency is good for the industry," he said. "It lets people know where things stand, and it encourages them to start thinking about the future in the event that we are not successful with our legal action."

Dick Cartney, the executive director for the Oregon division of the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, did not disagree.

"I guess it is good to know where we are at so we can make plans," said Cartney. "We're still in a little bit of shock, though. I'm not sure what we can do. The HBPA doesn't have the resources to buy the track, but we'll certainly explore whatever options there are. Maybe we can help to find a buyer, or maybe Magna will win its lawsuit and change its mind about selling. We'll have to see how things work out."

Four joining hall

Peterhof's Patea, trainer Robert McDaniel, jockey Johnny Adams, and breeder Dan Agnew will join the Washington Thoroughbred Hall of Fame when the class of 2007 is inducted in a public ceremony at Emerald Downs at 11:30 a.m. on Washington Cup Day, Sept. 16.

Peterhof's Patea, who was trained by fellow Washington Hall of Famer Bud Klokstad for Roger Williams and Patti Strait, won 16 of 52 starts for $623,367 in earnings. Peterhof's Patea, a daughter of Peterhof bred by Jack Hodge's Oak Crest Farm, was a three-time Washington champion, and she was the state's horse of the year in 1993.

McDaniel, a native of Enumclaw, Wash., was the nation's leading trainer for five consecutive years, from 1950 through 1954. He won training titles at Santa Anita, Del Mar and Golden Gate Fields en route to 1,143 career training victories and purse earnings of over $4 million.

Adams, a member of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, rode at Longacres during the 1930's and early 1940s. He was a three-time U.S. riding champion and won the 1939 Santa Anita Handicap aboard Kayak II and the 1954 Preakness on Hasty Road.

Agnew, a native of Centralia, Wash., is a third-generation Thoroughbred breeder and horseman and a past president of the Washington Thoroughbred Breeders' Association. He bred Washington champions T.D. Passer, Tortellini Roma, and Delicate Vine, a Grade 1 winner who was named the state's horse of the year in 1986. Agnew also raced a number of nationally prominent horses, including Kentucky Derby and Preakness runner-up Desert Wine.

The new inductees will make up the fifth class in the Washington Thoroughbred Hall of Fame, which was inaugurated in 2003.

Fillies draw top prices at auction

Tuesday's Washington Thoroughbred Breeders Association summer yearling sale saw the average price dip from last year by 2.6 percent to $15,070, while the median price increased 20 percent to $12,000. In all, 145 yearlings changed hands for $2,185,100.

The top two sellers were fillies. A daughter of Marquetry and Tempered Dawn who was consigned by Griffin Place, agent, sold for $80,000 to agent John Brocklebank of Santa Barbara, Calif., and a filly by Golden Missile out of Strong Credentials who was consigned by Northwest Farms, agent, went to Super Horse Inc. for $75,000.

The top-selling colt was a son of Milwaukee Brew and My Chanel who was purchased by Ron and Rosalee Warren of Olympia, Wash. The colt was consigned by Griffin Place, agent.

The sale's leading buyer was Ron Crockett, who purchased six head for a total of $144,000. Crockett, who is the president of Emerald Downs, nosed out Bell Thoroughbred, which purchased six head for $143,000 in total

The sale featured the final full crop of Slewdledo, one of the most productive sires ever to stand in Washington. Fourteen sons and daughters of Slewdledo sold for $246,000, an average of $17,571 per head.AUBURN, Wash. - Wednesday's announcement that Magna Entertainment Corp. will put Portland Meadows, along with Thistledown in Ohio, up for sale has caused a good deal of consternation among Northwest fans and horsemen. The situation is not quite as dire as may be imagined, however.

"People should understand that we are proceeding with our plans to run a race meeting at Portland Meadows in 2007-08," said Dwayne Yuzik, general manager at Portland Meadows, "and that we are proceeding with our legal options regarding instant-racing machines.'

Underlying Wednesday's announcement is Magna's need to cut its ongoing losses. The company has lost more than $325 million over the past three years and is carrying about $500 million in debt on its balance sheet. Portland Meadows accounted for only about $100,000 of those losses in 2006, however, and it may turn a small profit this year. A more pressing reason for putting the Portland track on the market regards the instant-racing machines. Based on approval granted by the Oregon Racing Commission, Portland Meadows spent more than $1 million preparing a space for the machines, which offer wagering on replays of unidentified races, only to have the state's attorney general declare the machines illegal. It is that ruling that Magna plans to contest in court.

Meanwhile, Portland Meadows plans to race 60 days from Oct. 7, 2007. through March 11, 2008, with a minimum of 540 races. Yuzik said the track will present an application to that effect at the Oregon Racing Commission's next scheduled meeting on Sept. 30.

Yuzik said Wednesday's announcement, though upsetting, can serve a salutary purpose.

"I think the transparency is good for the industry," he said. "It lets people know where things stand, and it encourages them to start thinking about the future in the event that we are not successful with our legal action."

Dick Cartney, the executive director for the Oregon division of the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, did not disagree.

"I guess it is good to know where we are at so we can make plans," said Cartney. "We're still in a little bit of shock, though. I'm not sure what we can do. The HBPA doesn't have the resources to buy the track, but we'll certainly explore whatever options there are. Maybe we can help to find a buyer, or maybe Magna will win its lawsuit and change its mind about selling. We'll have to see how things work out."

Four joining hall

Peterhof's Patea, trainer Robert McDaniel, jockey Johnny Adams, and breeder Dan Agnew will join the Washington Thoroughbred Hall of Fame when the class of 2007 is inducted in a public ceremony at Emerald Downs at 11:30 a.m. on Washington Cup Day, Sept. 16.

Peterhof's Patea, who was trained by fellow Washington Hall of Famer Bud Klokstad for Roger Williams and Patti Strait, won 16 of 52 starts for $623,367 in earnings. Peterhof's Patea, a daughter of Peterhof bred by Jack Hodge's Oak Crest Farm, was a three-time Washington champion, and she was the state's horse of the year in 1993.

McDaniel, a native of Enumclaw, Wash., was the nation's leading trainer for five consecutive years, from 1950 through 1954. He won training titles at Santa Anita, Del Mar and Golden Gate Fields en route to 1,143 career training victories and purse earnings of over $4 million.

Adams, a member of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, rode at Longacres during the 1930's and early 1940s. He was a three-time U.S. riding champion and won the 1939 Santa Anita Handicap aboard Kayak II and the 1954 Preakness on Hasty Road.

Agnew, a native of Centralia, Wash., is a third-generation Thoroughbred breeder and horseman and a past president of the Washington Thoroughbred Breeders' Association. He bred Washington champions T.D. Passer, Tortellini Roma, and Delicate Vine, a Grade 1 winner who was named the state's horse of the year in 1986. Agnew also raced a number of nationally prominent horses, including Kentucky Derby and Preakness runner-up Desert Wine.

The new inductees will make up the fifth class in the Washington Thoroughbred Hall of Fame, which was inaugurated in 2003.

Fillies draw top prices at auction

Tuesday's Washington Thoroughbred Breeders Association summer yearling sale saw the average price dip from last year by 2.6 percent to $15,070, while the median price increased 20 percent to $12,000. In all, 145 yearlings changed hands for $2,185,100.

The top two sellers were fillies. A daughter of Marquetry and Tempered Dawn who was consigned by Griffin Place, agent, sold for $80,000 to agent John Brocklebank of Santa Barbara, Calif., and a filly by Golden Missile out of Strong Credentials who was consigned by Northwest Farms, agent, went to Super Horse Inc. for $75,000.

The top-selling colt was a son of Milwaukee Brew and My Chanel who was purchased by Ron and Rosalee Warren of Olympia, Wash. The colt was consigned by Griffin Place, agent.

The sale's leading buyer was Ron Crockett, who purchased six head for a total of $144,000. Crockett, who is the president of Emerald Downs, nosed out Bell Thoroughbred, which purchased six head for $143,000 in total

The sale featured the final full crop of Slewdledo, one of the most productive sires ever to stand in Washington. Fourteen sons and daughters of Slewdledo sold for $246,000, an average of $17,571 per head.