Carl Verstandig

No ‘stalking horse’ bid for Md. tracks

By Liz Farmer
Daily Record Business Writer 

Baltimore developer Carl Verstandig said he wasn’t surprised Magna couldn’t reach an agreement with a ‘stalking horse’ bidder.The bankrupt owner of Maryland’s thoroughbred race tracks is moving forward in its auction of the tracks without selecting a leading bidder, but interested buyers said that change is not a deterrent.

Magna Entertainment Corp. could not come to a purchase agreement late Wednesday with the bidder it had selected to make its “stalking horse bid,” an initial bid chosen by the company that competing groups can bid against.

Ontario-based Magna was scheduled to file a motion Wednesday in federal bankruptcy court in Wilmington, Del., announcing the stalking horse bidder for its Maryland properties — Pimlico Race Course, Laurel Park and Bowie Training Center — and had been in talks with a group that filed in the first round of bidding last week.

But a managing director of Miller Buckfire, the New York-based company handling Magna’s assets auction, said Thursday Magna could not reach an agreement they felt was “deserving” of a stalking horse bid.

“Just because someone puts forward a bid doesn’t mean we have to take it,” said Michael Wildish. “They pushed our limits, and they found them.”

Miller Buckfire will instead move on and wait for the second round of bids for the properties to arrive next month.

Verstandig partners up in bid for Md. tracks

By Liz Farmer
Daily Record Business Writer 

The first round of bids for Maryland’s thoroughbred race tracks were submitted Monday, including a proposal from a group made up of race track operators and a local developer.

Bankrupt Magna Entertainment Corp., which put its Maryland properties back on the auction block last month, will announce its “stalking horse” bid, or an initial offer that competitors can bid against, on Nov. 9. Miller Buckfire, the New York firm handling Ontario-based Magna’s assets auction, is not releasing the number of bids entered by Monday’s deadline nor the names of the preliminary bidders.

But Pikesville developer Carl Verstandig, who had expressed his interest in buying Maryland’s tracks in the past, said Monday he joined in a bid submitted by two out-of-state track operators. He would not reveal the names of the bidders but said they operated tracks and had gaming operations around the country and would likely be interested in bringing slots to Laurel Park if possible.