04/17/2002 11:00PM

Magna says it's still buying


ARCADIA, Calif. - Magna Entertainment Corporation, the owner of such major racetracks as Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita, intends to buy additional racetracks in the next two years, company officials said at Magna's annual meeting on Thursday.

Frank Stronach, Magna's chairman, and Jim McAlpine, its president and chief executive officer, said the company has raised enough money to continue adding to its portfolio of 10 racetracks.

"In the next 12 to 24 months, we will acquire three to five tracks," McAlpine told shareholders gathered in a restaurant at Santa Anita.

The company has a purchase pending on Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas, and currently owns racetracks in California, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. The primary funding for the new acquisitions is $143 million raised through a recent stock offering and $75 million in debt financing, McAlpine said.

Throughout the two-hour meeting, officials emphasized Magna's new advance deposit wagering system, Xpressbet, and said that added racetracks would provide content for that system.

After the meeting, Stronach said, "We're talking to tracks but we're not at liberty to say which tracks those are. We're looking to fill our program in different time zones and offer the customers a lot of races."