Colonial Downs delays filing for bankruptcy Virginia track negotiating with Maryland Jockey Club

December 17, 1998|By Kent Baker

Recent financial negotiations between Colonial Downs and the Maryland Jockey Club have delayed any action by the Virginia track's management to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

"We've been doing a lot of talking lately," said Maryland Jockey Club president Joe De Francis. "So, I don't believe there will be any major announcements from there."

There weren't any at the monthly meeting of the Virginia Racing Commission, where Colonial officials said they were trying to reach an accord with Maryland management over the 2 percent fee the Maryland group receives from all Virginia handle (excluding live harness money) in exchange for managing Colonial's fall thoroughbred meeting.

"We need to resolve our situation with the Maryland Jockey Club," said Ian Stewart, Colonial's president and CEO. "Nobody wants to go through bankruptcy."

With negotiations in progress, a scheduled arbitration hearing to resolve the matter also has been deferred until next month at the earliest. Mediator John Schoenfield is optimistic that the talks may preclude any need for arbitration.

Commission Chairwoman Robin Williams was visibly disturbed that track management was unprepared to ask for specific 1999 racing dates or present a proposed purse structure to the panel. Sentiment is strong among management to cancel the harness meet next year, but that is meeting with opposition from harness horsemen.

Pub Date: 12/17/98

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