Pimlico's 2003 profit falls by almost 58 percent

April 21, 2004|By Ed Waldman | Ed Waldman,SUN STAFF

The owners of Pimlico Race Course said profit at the home of the Preakness Stakes fell nearly 58 percent in 2003, according to a financial report filed this week with the Maryland Racing Commission.

Pimlico showed a profit of $671,000 on racing revenue of $27.6 million last year, compared to a profit of $1.6 million on racing revenue of $31.5 million in 2002. In addition, nearly a third of Pimlico's racing revenue, or $9.1 million, came on Preakness day. Pimlico's handle was $127.7 million in 2003, down 22.6 percent from 2002's $165 million; however, there were only 71 days of live racing at Pimlico in 2003, and 110 days in 2002.

Laurel Park had a loss of $4.5 million on racing revenue of $24.9 million in 2003, compared to a loss of $1.9 million on revenue of $22.6 million in 2002, that track's report showed. Laurel's handle increased 15.1 percent in 2003, to $176.5 million from $153.4 million in 2002.

Doug Illig, chief financial officer of the Maryland Jockey Club, yesterday attributed the bigger loss on more revenue mostly to bad weather.

"Because Laurel had a majority of the race days and the weather was the worst we've had in years, Laurel got impacted by not having enough revenue to support the expenses that are generated by live racing," he said.

Pimlico and Laurel accrued a management fee to their parent company, Magna Entertainment Corp., that totaled $2.17 million in 2003, Magna's first full year of ownership, the reports said.

Joseph A. De Francis, president and chief executive of the jockey club, the tracks' minority owner, received a salary of $615,000 from both tracks in 2003; his sister, Karin M. De Francis, executive vice president of the jockey club, was paid $385,000.

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