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Macau Jockey Club Closure May Cause Hundreds of Horses to Be Abandoned

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In 2018, over 500 greyhounds were abandoned in Macau when the Canidrome Club shut down. They were finally rescued, but some are concerned that the same fate awaits hundreds of horses after the Macau Jockey Club (MJC) closes its doors next month.

Shades Pulled on MJC

The MJC is facing closure on April 1 following a string of financial losses, leaving the fate of 289 racehorses stabled at the facility uncertain. According to reports, these horses must be relocated out of the territory by March 31, 2025.

Related: Macau Jockey Club Comes to an End as Macau Cancels Concession

To facilitate this transition, the MJC has agreed to subsidize transportation costs, albeit with a capped amount of HK$200,000 (US$25,560). However, racehorse owners argue that this sum is inadequate and would result in financial losses on their end.

Racehorse owners have taken their grievances to the Macau Legislative Assembly, publishing an open letter urging lawmakers to intervene in negotiations with the MJC for a more favorable compensation package. The letter, shared by specialist website Racing King, echoes sentiments expressed during a press conference held last weekend, emphasizing the need for adequate compensation for affected owners.

MJC chairperson Angela Leong engaged with six representatives from Macao, Hong Kong and mainland China to try to negotiate a deal on March 12. However, she wasn't willing to consider the horse owners' assertion that each horse is valued at HKD1 million (US$127,850).

Leong is the billionaire widow of casino tycoon Stanley Ho and a member of the Legislative Council of Macau. She was also the owner of the Canidrome Club.

No Room for New Deal

Owners expressed dissatisfaction with the MJC's rejection of their compensation claims, labeling the club's reasons as "extremely far-fetched." The club cited financial constraints resulting from the premature termination of its government contract as the basis for denying owners' demands, as outlined in a letter dated February 21.

Contrary to the club's claims of financial strain, local broadcaster TDM reports that the MJC is set to receive a reimbursement of MOP15 million (US$1.86 million) from the government. This reimbursement, stemming from a deposit made by the MJC for its operations, suggests a more nuanced financial landscape surrounding the club's closure.

The horse owners feel that the MCJ leaders are not willing to negotiate, forcing them to turn to the government. However, they've made it clear that they have no desire to seek legal recourse in the fight.

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