Del Mar Asked to Postpone Racetrack Bid Deal

By H. Hughes
|  Thursday, Jul 30, 2009  |  Updated 11:46 AM PDT
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Del Mar Asked to Postpone Racetrack Bid Deal

The Del Mar Race Track sale may be postponed, depending on how state officals vote.

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State Senator Christine Kehoe wants state officials to postpone the decision to sell the Del Mar Race Track because, she said, taxpayers might get a better deal on the lease by waiting.

"The current economic climate, recent changes in the horse racing industry within California and across the nation, and the possibility that additional racing days could be added to the Del Mar Track, make it likely that the state could benefit by withdrawing the Request for Proposals (RFP), negotiating with the current operator, and reissuing the RFP next year."

The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club's (the current operator) contract with the state ends at the end of this year. Bids for a new contract were released July 7 and are due September 14. The contract term is for five years, starting January 1, 2009, with the option of extending it three times for a total of 20 years.

"I urge you to take immediate action to withdraw the RFP and initiate negotiations with the current operator," said Kehoe in a letter to Will Bush, Director of the Department of General Services.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently proposed selling the fairgrounds to raise money for the state. It's estimated that the land could sell for $400 million to $700 million.

Kehoe also said the city of Del Mar is interested in taking over the fairgrounds, and a delay would give it time to consider options, according to the Union Tribune.

Bush will discuss Kehoe's letter at its next meeting on August 24.

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