Bill Carstanjen

Report: Zedan Sues Churchill in Attempt to Force Track to Accept Baffert Entries

According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, Owner Amr Zedan filed suit Wednesday in Louisville seeking a temporary injunction that would allow his horses and all others trained by Bob Baffert to run in the GI Kentucky Derby and all other Derby-week races. Baffert is not a party to the lawsuit. Zedan owns the GI Arkansas Derby winner Muth (Good Magic), who would be among the Derby favorites if allowed to race. After Medina Spirit (Protonico) tested positive for betamethasone in the 2021 Derby Baffert was banned by...

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Kentucky Derby Purse Raised By Churchill Downs To Record $5 Million, 50-Race Stakes Schedule Cumulatively Worth $25.6 Million

The 150th GI Kentucky Derby scheduled for Saturday, May 4 will be the richest in history as the purse for America's greatest race has been elevated to a guaranteed $5 million, Churchill Downs Inc. (CDI) said in a release Wednesday. The $2 million increase to the race highlights a record-setting, 50-race stakes schedule cumulatively worth $25.6 million for Churchill Downs' 2024 Spring Meet, which will be run over 43 dates from April 27-June 30/ The Derby purse structure was the subject of a Chris McGrath TDN interview with John Sikura,...

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Churchill Downs To Resume Racing In September

Racing will return to Churchill Downs as scheduled for the track's regularly scheduled meeting beginning Sept. 14. The announcement comes following an "evaluation of existing safety protocols and a thorough assessment of industry best practices," according to a release from the track. Operations at the Louisville oval were suspended in early June following a rash of breakdowns during the first month of the meeting that began only a few days prior to the running of the GI Kentucky Derby. The balance of the Churchill spring meet was run at Ellis...

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Churchill Fatalities: No 'Apparent Cause' But New Protocols in Pipeline

Bill Carstanjen, the chief executive officer of Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI), said during a quarterly earnings conference call Thursday that nearly two months of internal investigation into the deaths of 12 Thoroughbreds during the shortened spring meet at the gaming corporation's flagship Louisville track has yielded "nothing that jumped out as the apparent cause." Carstanjen added that CDI will soon be announcing new safety protocols to be implemented for the scheduled September return of racing to Churchill Downs, but he did not disclose details about what to expect. During the...

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Churchill Downs Donates Against All Odds Statue to National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame

Churchill Downs Incorporated will donate "Against All Odds," an inspiring bronze statue by Edwin Bogucki, to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame as part of the Museum's permanent collection. The statue will be unveiled at its new home in Saratoga Springs July 12. "Against All Odds" depicts the thrilling photo finish victory of John Henry with jockey William Shoemaker in the irons as they ran down The Bart in the shadow of the wire in the inaugural running of the Arlington Million in 1981, the first Thoroughbred...

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Churchill Downs to Suspend Meet, Move Racing to Ellis Park

Reeling from a rash of breakdowns that has developed into what can only be described as a crisis for the track and for the entire sport, track management at Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) announced Friday that racing will be suspended at Churchill after Sunday's card and that the remainder of the scheduled meet will be run at Ellis Park. The first day of racing at Ellis will be held on June 10. The Churchill-at-Ellis meet will end on July 3. Racing at Churchill will be held as scheduled this Saturday...

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Record All-Sources Wagering For Derby 149

Officials at Churchill Downs reported that all-sources wagering on Saturday's Kentucky Derby program was $288.7 million, easily surpassing the previous record of $273.8 million set just last year. All-sources wagering on the Kentucky Derby alone was $188.7 million, bettering the previous mark of $179 million, also achieved last year. All-sources handle for the entire week leading up to Saturday's Run for the Roses was $412 million, beating last year's record $391.8 million. This year's Derby featured a field of 18 and was attended by an announced crowd of 150,335. It...

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Woodford Reserve Extends Partnership as Presenting Sponsor of the Kentucky Derby

Churchill Downs Racetrack has entered an agreement with Woodford Reserve Kentucky Bourbon that will solidify the renewal of Woodford Reserve as the presenting sponsor of the Kentucky Derby through 2027. Woodford Reserve has been the "Official Bourbon of the Kentucky Derby" since 1999 and the presenting sponsor for the past four years. "We are thrilled to welcome back Woodford Reserve as the presenting sponsor of the Kentucky Derby for the next five years," said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of CDI. "We are pleased to build upon this partnership between two global...

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CDI Signs Agreement to Buy Ellis Park

Churchill Downs Incorporated announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Ellis Park Racing & Gaming in Henderson, Kentucky, from Enchantment Holdings, LLC, an affiliate of Laguna Development Corporation, for total consideration of $79 million in cash, subject to certain working capital and other purchase price adjustments. CDI will also assume Ellis Park's opportunity to construct a track extension facility in Owensboro, Kentucky. "This is an exciting announcement for the horse racing industry, the cities of Henderson and Owensboro, and the entire Commonwealth of Kentucky," said Kentucky Governor...

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CDI Aims to Nearly Double Colonial's Race Dates

By 2026, the gaming corporation that owns Colonial Downs is aiming to nearly double the amount of racing at the turf-centric Virginia track, potentially expanding the current boutique-styled summer race meet from 27 to 50 dates. That news was revealed Thursday morning by Bill Carstanjen, the chief executive officer of Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI), who briefly mentioned the dates increase during a public quarterly earnings conference call with investment bankers. The reason has everything to do with CDI's gaming revenue and apparently very little do with the overall scope of...

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Churchill's Paddock to be Expanded by 2024 Derby

Churchill Downs Inc. (CDI) will launch a $185- to $200-million redesign of the paddock that will be in place for the 150th GI Kentucky Derby in 2024. The "Paddock Project," a massive expansion and redevelopment, is the final phase of CDI's three-year capital investment plan. The transformation will increase the current 5,000 square feet of guest space to 12,000 square feet, update the capacity inside the paddock from 1,000 to 2,400 people, and add various club spaces and seating, including 3,612 new premium reserved seats and 3,250 new standing room-only...

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CDI to Abandon Online Sports Betting

Bill Carstanjen, the chief executive officer of Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI), said during a quarterly conference call with investors Feb. 24 that after only a brief foray into online sports betting, the gaming corporation plans to phase out operating in that sector by mid-2022. "When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the federal ban on sports betting in May of 2018, we had high hopes for the potential to build a profitable business in this space," Carstanjen said. "Our initial strategy was to leverage a variable cost technology model and be...

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