Magna Entertainment Corp. announces exercise of option to acquire remaining interest in The Maryland Jockey Club

    AURORA, ON, Sept. 24 /CNW/ - Magna Entertainment Corp. ("MEC") (NASDAQ:  
MECA; TSX: MEC.A) announced today that it has exercised its option, pursuant
to an agreement with certain companies controlled by Joseph De Francis and
Karin De Francis (the "De Francis Entities") to acquire the remaining interest
in The Maryland Jockey Club ("MJC") that it does not already own. MJC is the
trade name under which Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park operate. Under the
terms of the Option Agreement, MEC will pay to the De Francis Entities
approximately $18.3 million plus interest. MEC first acquired its ownership
position in MJC in November 2002 and the option arrangements were scheduled to
expire in November 2007.
    Frank Stronach, Chairman and Interim Chief Executive Officer of MEC,
stated: "From the time we acquired control of MJC in 2002, we have intended to
acquire the balance of the shares in the company. The acquisition of this
remaining interest in MJC was specifically contemplated in our recently
announced Debt Elimination Plan, and reflects our intent to focus the business
of MEC on our core strategic racetracks. MJC is a core asset of MEC, and while
thoroughbred racing in Maryland is currently facing many difficult obstacles,
we remain optimistic that with the assistance of other stakeholders horse
racing in the state can have a bright future."
    Pursuant to the initial acquisition arrangements, Joseph De Francis and
Karin De Francis will be leaving MJC in the near future, although Joe will
remain a Director of MEC and MEC expects to continue working with Joe in
connection with matters of importance to MEC.
    Mr. Stronach stated, "On behalf of the Board of Directors of MEC, I would
like to thank Joe and Karin for their contributions to MJC and MEC. I have
worked with Joe and Karin for many years and I wish them well in their future
    Joe De Francis stated: "On behalf of my sister and me, I want to thank
Frank for the opportunities he has given us over these last five years. We
have both enjoyed working with MEC, and I look forward to continuing to
contribute to MEC through my role on the Board."
    MEC, North America's largest owner and operator of horse racetracks,
based on revenue, acquires, develops, owns and operates horse racetracks and
related pari-mutuel wagering operations, including off-track betting
facilities. MEC also develops, owns and operates casinos in conjunction with
its racetracks where permitted by law. MEC owns and operates AmTote
International, Inc., a provider of totalisator services to the pari-mutuel
industry, XpressBet(R), a national Internet and telephone account wagering
system, as well as MagnaBet(TM) internationally. Pursuant to joint ventures,
MEC has a fifty percent interest in HorseRacing TV(TM), a 24-hour horse racing
television network, and TrackNet Media Group LLC, a content management company
formed for distribution of the full breadth of MEC's horse racing content.

    This press release contains "forward-looking statements" within the
meaning of applicable securities legislation, including Section 27A of the
United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the "Securities Act"), and
Section 21E of the United States Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended
(the "Exchange Act") and forward-looking information as defined in the
Securities Act (Ontario) (collectively referred to as forward-looking
statements). These forward-looking statements are made pursuant to the safe
harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and
the Securities Act (Ontario) and include, among others, statements regarding:
the potential impact of our debt reduction efforts, as to which there can be
no assurance of success; expectations as to our potential ability to improve
operations efficiency; expectations as to our ability to complete asset sales
at appropriate prices and in a timely manner; and other matters that are not
historical facts.
    Forward-looking statements should not be read as guarantees of future
performance or results, and will not necessarily be accurate indications of
whether or the times at or by which such performance or results will be
achieved. Undue reliance should not be placed on such statements.
Forward-looking statements are based on information available at the time
and/or management's good faith assumptions and analyses made in light of our
perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected future
developments, as well as other factors we believe are appropriate in the
circumstances and are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and
other unpredictable factors, many of which are beyond the Company's control,
that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from such
forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ
materially from our forward-looking statements include, but may not be limited
to, material adverse changes: in general economic conditions, the popularity
of racing and other gaming activities as recreational activities, the
regulatory environment affecting the horse racing and gaming industries, and
our ability to develop, execute or finance our strategies and plans within
expected timelines or budgets. In drawing conclusions set out in our
forward-looking statements above, we have assumed, among other things, that
there will not be any material adverse changes: in general economic
conditions, the popularity of horse racing and other gaming activities, the
regulatory environment, and our ability to develop, execute or finance our
strategies and plans as anticipated.
    Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date the statements were
made. We assume no obligation to update forward-looking statements to reflect
actual results, changes in assumptions or changes in other factors affecting
forward-looking statements. If we update one or more forward-looking
statements, no inference should be drawn that we will make additional updates
with respect thereto or with respect to other forward-looking statements.

For further information:

For further information: Blake Tohana, Executive Vice-President and
Chief Financial Officer, Magna Entertainment Corp., (905) 726-7493

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