09/05/2012 10:07AM

Stronach to form new political party in Austria


Frank Stronach, the billionaire Thoroughbred owner and breeder who owns some of the most prominent racetracks in the United States, has announced that he will form a political party in his native Austria seeking the country’s withdrawal from the euro zone.

Stronach, who will turn 80 on Sept. 6, has been appearing in public in Austria over the last several weeks to build support for the party, which still does not have a name, according to reports. Polling by Gallup suggests that the platform endorsed by Stronach – which would include the return of Austria to the schilling currency – would garner approximately 8 percent of the vote, according to the Associated Press.

Stronach, who first indicated that he would like to launch an Austrian political party in 2011, has also said that he will seek a seat in the Austrian parliament. In 1988, Stronach ran unsuccessfully for a Parliament seat in Canada, where he made his home after emigrating from Austria in 1954. His daughter, Belinda Stronach, is a former Liberal Party member of Canada’s parliament.

It is unclear how Stronach’s latest quixotic effort will impact the operations of his racetracks, which include Santa Anita Park in Southern California, the host of the next two Breeders’ Cup events, and Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Fla. Stronach took ownership of the tracks in mid-2011 in a deal to privatize the racing and gambling assets of MI Developments Corp., a publicly traded real-estate company he controlled that was being dragged down by poor results from its racetrack operations and a heavy debt load.

The new company formed by Stronach, the Stronach Group, owns Santa Anita, Gulfstream, Golden Gate Fields in Northern California, Laurel Park and Pimlico Racecourse in Maryland, and Portland Meadows in Oregon. The company also owns and operates a casino at Gulfstream, the account-wagering company XpressBet, the bet-processing company AmTote, and a 50-percent stake in the horserace broadcast network HRTV. The company also owns a racetrack in Austria.

Stronach has generally focused on bigger-picture issues for the U.S. racing assets he controls, though he has sometimes intervened in the tracks’ operations and has often inserted himself into negotiations between the tracks and their horsemen. He has also frequently lobbied racing commissions to relax restrictions on how racetracks can operate.

Stronach also owns Adena Springs, a racing and breeding operation in North America. The operation was voted the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Owner in 1998-2000 and Outstanding Breeder in 2004-2006.

David Fox More than 1 year ago
I'm not sure if it meets the standards of objective journalism, but using the word "quixotic" to describe Stronach is both accurate and hilarious. Does Rocinante stand at Adena? Well done, Matt Hegarty.
mikey More than 1 year ago
He killed the best track to watch winter racing live he can ruin a country.Hope he wins and stay's there this country is better off without him.
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Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
It's politics my friend. Nobody is allowed to speak their minds anymore without being sensored. First ammendment goes right out the window when you start voicing your opinions against the sports so called elite. Plus DRF can't afford to battle these guys over our thoughts. Whether they are valid or not.
Paul_Tuon More than 1 year ago
I won't comment about Stronach's horse racing business but instead I will comment about something that absolutely has no value whatsoever in this forum, for the reason that I just don't have anything better to say. I will comment about his politic instead. He wants his native Austria to seek the country’s withdrawal from the euro zone? Is he out of his mind? Austria needs the euro zone, specifically Austria needs France and Germany and getting out of the euro zone will definitely anger France and Germany. After all, Austria doesn't contribute a penny to the euro zone but instead receives subsidies from the euro zone. I know this, because I am an economist and isolating themselves from the rest of the euro zone is equivalent to going on a date without a date partner. Austria is way better off staying put; that's my take.
Christopher Clay More than 1 year ago
You are wrong. Austria is a net contributor: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budget_of_the_European_Union#Net_contributors_and_recipients They should of course still not leave the Euro zone.
kingsailor2 More than 1 year ago
I wish him good luck. I appreciate all he has done for racing here. He always makes the Sunshine Millions Day alot of fun, as is the FLA Derby. I may be the only person on this site that really enjoys the remodeled Gulfstream Park grandstand and "tiki park." I only wish he would (re)buy Hollywood Park; it is a gem and a jewel of 1930's American culture.
Bruce Epstein More than 1 year ago
New GP sucks, small, no outside seats very few box's outside and the resturant is way way way too big. Show's his ego. Sick dude.
mikey More than 1 year ago
You are the only one who like's it it is not a track it's a casino and poker room with a track.
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Bruce Epstein More than 1 year ago
I could not agree with you more! He is bad for racing in the US. Ego the size of Canada. Austria was too small for his ego. Ruined GP with the new building. According to my firiends in the industry he is impossible to work for. US racing could do without him. Let him go back to his roots and ruin that lovely small country.