The Horse Track Industry's Hot Favorites

Magna Entertainment and Churchill Downs are neck-and-neck to expand wagering on the ponies. Wall Street is betting on both

A longtime racing enthusiast with more than 800 horses and several major trophies in his stable, Canadian auto parts magnate Frank Stronach decided he wanted an even bigger piece of the action. In 1998, Stronach plunked down $118 million for Santa Anita Park, one of the prettiest and most prestigious racetracks in the U.S. The acquisition reverberated through the clubby world of horse racing. Before long, in a race to consolidate the $14.5 billion U.S. horse track industry, Stronach's Magna Entertainment (MIEC ) was galloping alongside the venerable Churchill Downs (CHDN ).

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