Frank Stronach, amid turbulent times for Santa Anita Park, which became a national story amid an above-average rate of breakdowns, said Tuesday evening that he's looking for control back in his company.
After taking out an ad in Sunday’s Los Angeles Times to announce the appearance, Stronach, 86, hosted a discussion at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Arcadia, Calif., to address the future of horse racing in the state.
Ray Paulick, publisher of Paulick Report, reported that Stronach spoke in front of a standing room-only crowd of about 200 and said current leadership within The Stronach Group, chaired by his daughter, Belinda, isn't interested in a longterm future for racing at Santa Anita.
“They don't want to have racing,” Stronach said, according to Paulick. "They want to sell (Santa Anita).”
Stronach is still involved in a lawsuit filed last October alleging that his daughter mismanaged the company’s assets. He proposed Tuesday, per Paulick, putting The Stronach Group's racetracks in a trust that would allow horsemen to operate the facilities -- and avoid any redevelopment that would put a stop to racing.
"What Mr. Stronach is proposing is the greatest opportunity our industry has ever been given," said horse owner William Deburgh who, according to Paulick, sat beside Stronach throughout the speech.
Stronach called himself "the rightful owner" of his company and said he expects a court's decision to support that.
In 2011, Stronach stepped down as The Stronach Group chairman to run for political office in Austria, passing the company's leadership baton to Belinda. He is now listed on the company website as honorary chairman.