Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

‘Take Me out to the Racetrack?’


PreaknessThe bulk of our conversations at the Reuters Global Real Estate and Infrastructure Summit deal with, well, real estate and infrastructure. On Tuesday, however, we got onto the subject of horse racing. Our guest was Gregory Cross, a lawyer at Venable LLP. He is the head of Venable’s bankruptcy practice and represented the state of Maryland, a creditor of Magna Entertainment Corp, which runs the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore and its famous Preakness Stakes horse race and filed for bankruptcy in 2009.

We asked Cross what could help ailing racetracks improve their financial performance. His answer? A little less Damon Runyon and Dick Francis, and a little more Black Stallion and National Velvet — crossed with Field of Dreams.

“Frankly, I think if you had a track and made it more of an environment where people could go with their kids and sit in the box where it’s like a baseball game and it’s a festive event, I think they could market it,” Cross said.

Now that’s something we can get behind. The kids can learn crucial numbers skills and acquire a more diverse vocabulary, not to mention handy terms like, “boxed bet” and “breakage.” And don’t forget, parents, you can build a whole atmosphere of fun around taking the kids to the track — you can even start at home with fun introductory movies like, “The Long Good Friday” (yes, it’s dog racing, not horse racing, but you get the picture) and “The Grifters.”