02/17/2004 12:00AM

Maryland cuts signal from TVG


The Maryland Jockey Club, operator of Laurel Park and Pimlico, withdrew its signal from Television Games Network on Monday after a judge ruled that the jockey club could be released from its contract with the racing broadcaster and account-wagering company.

The withdrawal weakened TVG's already lean winter lineup. Because of a conflict with the MJC's majority owner, Magna Entertainment Corp., TVG is prohibited from broadcasting races from the two most popular winter signals in the country, Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita Park, both owned by Magna.

The jockey club had sued TVG shortly after Magna purchased majority shares in its two tracks in 2003. In its suit, the MJC claimed that TVG had not reached several "performance goals" outlined in its contract, which gave TVG exclusive rights to broadcast the MJC's races.

Since the end of 2003, Magna has been attempting to rein in access to its signals in order to drive business to its own account-wagering platform, Xpressbet.com. Magna owns all or part of 14 tracks.