Dragone out as MJC head?

President, general manager might be gone after Preakness

May 13, 2008|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Sun Reporter

Changes could be brewing at the top of the Maryland Jockey Club. Yesterday, Scott Borgemenke, executive vice president for racing at Magna Entertainment Corp., opened the door to speculation.

Asked whether MJC president and general manager Chris Dragone was leaving after the Preakness, Borgemenke said: "We don't have any sort of agreement on that yet. We're going to talk to Chris this week. We're still evaluating. We've not finalized anything or decided anything."

Dragone replaced Lou Raffetto in November as head of the entity that runs Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park.

Since the recent arrival at Pimlico of Tom Chuckas Jr., the former president and chief executive of Rosecroft Raceway, as a special consultant to Magna chairman Frank Stronach, the racing community has raised questions about Dragone's future.

Yesterday, Dragone said he had not heard the rumor until Borgemenke told him about a media inquiry about his future.

"My whole focus and the focus of everyone here is on the Preakness this Saturday," Dragone said before referring further questions to Borgemenke. "He's my boss. He's the one to ask."

Maryland Racing Commission chairman John Franzone said he met with Stronach last week and was asked about Chuckas.

"He asked me how the horsemen felt about him, and I said fine," Franzone said. "They thought Tom had a lot of knowledge and insight of the Maryland racing industry to offer. I told Frank he was a good choice to bring in to the organization.

"But whether he was an addition or a replacement wasn't discussed."

Borgemenke said the current team of executives was put in place after the departure last fall of Joe De Francis, the former Magna vice president who previously owned Pimlico and Laurel Park with his sister, Karin, "to make sure we had things firmed."

sandra.mckee@ baltsun.com

Sun reporter Gadi Dechter contributed to this article.

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