DEAL OR NO DEAL FOR RACE DAYS IN MARYLAND?

Well, it depends on who you ask…

According to the Baltimore Sun, on the eve of the last scheduled racing commission meeting of the year, the owners of Maryland’s two major thoroughbred tracks and the horsemen remained at odds over live racing next year.

Frank Stronach, chairman and chief executive of MI Developments, the majority owner of Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, said in a brief interview Monday that a verbal agreement calling for 140 racing days in 2011 was struck with the horsemen. The 140-day schedule is just six days shy of this year’s 146.

“It’s structured so that we would not lose any money,” Stronach said, adding he will attend Tuesday’s Maryland Racing Commission meeting at Laurel Park.

But Alan Foreman, attorney for the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, said there is no such deal.

“There is no agreement with Frank Stronach,” he said, noting that a board of directors for the joint venture that operates the two tracks makes those decisions. MID and Pennsylvania casino operator Penn National Gaming own and operate the Maryland Jockey Club, the umbrella organization for Laurel Park and Pimlico.

Eric Schippers, a spokesman for Penn National, declined comment on Stronach’s claims of a verbal agreement.

“It’s still somewhat of a fluid situation,” he said. “We want to withhold or reserve comments” until the meeting.