Local track operators, ODS settle suit


A lawsuit between the companies that operate Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park and the company that had previously televised their thoroughbred races and accepted bets by telephone and over the Internet was settled out of court this week.

Maryland Jockey Club, Laurel Racing Association and Laurel Racing Association Limited Partnership - which operate the two Maryland tracks under the flag of corporate parent Magna Entertainment - had sued ODS Technologies, of Los Angeles, in federal court contending that ODS had forfeited its exclusive rights to televise the local races and accept wagers. The agreement was signed in 1997.

Over a year ago, the Maryland tracks switched from ODS' television network, TVG, to Canada-based Magna Entertainment's own HorseRacing TV, and local racing fans have been able to place bets through Magna's XpressBet wagering system.

Although terms of Tuesday's settlement were not disclosed, the current broadcast and wagering practices will continue, according to Maryland Jockey Club president Joseph A. De Francis.

James Ulwick, the Baltimore attorney for ODS, declined to comment. James E. Gray, one of the lawyers for the local track groups, could not be reached for comment.

In the suit filed two years ago, the Maryland racing organizations contended that ODS had failed to reach agreed-upon goals for amounts of money wagered and, as a result, they were not obligated to continue providing races for broadcast.

In a counterclaim filed last year, ODS said De Francis had orally agreed to waive the milestones and that it should be able to continue televising the Maryland tracks' races as part of its offerings until 2009. ODS also contended that Magna Entertainment had worked to have tracks it owns break previous deals.

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