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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Pegasus World Cup backer Frank Stronach sues daughter for mismanagement

Frank Stronach has had numerous successes as an owner and breeder
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Less than two years after Belinda Stronach succeeded her father, Frank, at the helm of the privately-owned racetrack company The Stronach Group, the transition has started to unravel.

A story published by Thoroughbred Daily News and the Toronto Star reported Frank Stronach, 86, and his wife, Elfriede, have filed a lawsuit against their daughter and others alleging mismanagement of assets and trust funds.

Others named in the $520 million lawsuit include Stronach Group CEO Alon Ossip and Frank Stronach's grandchildren Nicole and Frank Walker.

According to reports, Frank and Elfriede Stronach allege their daughter led an extravagant lifestyle that drained the company of more than $70m.

In a statement issued via their lawyer, Frank and Elfriede Stronach filed litigation as a last resort after considerable efforts for almost two years to resolve matters on a consensual basis.

Gun Runner won the Pegasus World Cup in 2018

A spokesperson for Ossip told BloodHorse the allegations are baseless and not grounded in fact or reality. It was further suggested Frank Stronach's actions have put the family's wealth in peril.

The outcome of the lawsuit could have a major impact on horseracing. The Stronach Group owns such gems as Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita Park, Pimlico and Laurel Park.

The group also owns smaller tracks like Golden Gate Fields and Portland Meadows as well as the Palm Meadows training centre in Florida.

Outside of its tracks, the Stronach Group owns and operates advance-deposit wagering site, tote provider AmTote International, and simulcast sales agent Monarch Content Management.

Frank Stronach, founder of the Stronach Group and the company's honorary chairperson, has enjoyed extensive success in racing and breeding.

He has earned four Eclipse Awards as leading owner and eight as leading breeder, both in his name or that of his Adena Springs operation, as well as numerous Sovereign Awards in these categories in Canada.

In November 2016, Belinda Stronach was formally introduced as the new chairperson of the Stronach Group. At that time she said she viewed the company as an "entertainment company first and foremost, with horseracing and wagering as our key assets".

She said the company would work to expand horseracing and deliver amazing entertainment experiences, calling the $16m Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream a "game-changing catalyst".

Frank Stronach had served as chairperson of Magna Entertainment Corporation, which included many of the same assets. That company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March 2009 after mounting debt reached hundreds of millions of dollars.

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The outcome of the lawsuit could have a major impact on horse racing.

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