Bill Carstanjen

Visit Horse Country Adds TRF Farm to its Membership

The board of directors of Horse Country voted unanimously to add the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation's Chestnut Hall facility in Prospect, Kentucky to its membership roster. "Since our first tours in 2015, the members of our not-for-profit organization have opened their gates to more than 150,000 leisure travelers, fans, clubs and schools in service of our mission of fan development for racing and equine sport," said Anne Sabatino Hardy, executive director of Horse Country. "Aftercare is a critical part of the story of racing and experiential storytelling is an effective and...

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The Beginning of the End? Arlington Kicks Off 2021 Meet Friday

In years past, opening day at Arlington Park has been an event. It comes at a time when winter is giving way to spring in the Chicago area and takes place at what may be the most beautiful racetrack in the U.S. But Friday's opening day at a track that first ran in 1927 will occur under a pall. To some, it will seem more like the opening to a funeral than the opening to a race meet. "Under that thinly disguised veil of happiness for this opening day will...

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The Week in Review: 31 Shades (and Counting) of Derby Gray

   Gray horses have been in a GI Kentucky Derby rut the past 15 years. No fewer than 31 consecutive grays (or roans) have gone to post without winning on the first Saturday in May (or September) since Giacomo roared home in front at 50-1 in 2005. That's the longest Derby drought for grays in terms of consecutive starts since 1930, when Churchill Downs began compiling detailed records related to horse colors. There's an asterisk as to whether it's the longest stretch in terms of years. There was a 17-year...

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Churchill Abandons $300M On-Track Hotel Project

The gaming corporation that owns Churchill Downs Racetrack is abandoning plans to build a $300 million hotel and historical horse race (HHR) gaming facility on the first turn of the track. Instead, Churchill Downs Inc. (CDI) will focus on a three-phase expansion of its Louisville-area properties, with expected completion dates for each project dovetailing with the runnings of the next three GI Kentucky Derbies. Bill Carstanjen, CDI's chief executive officer, said during a Thursday earnings conference call that he was not at liberty to divulge details about the new projects...

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TRF to Open Chestnut Hall, a New Sanctuary Farm Near Louisville

The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF) will open a first-of-its kind farm designed to give the Louisville community and fans from around the world a direct connection to the horses at the heart of horse racing. The new TRF Sanctuary Farm at Chestnut Hall will be the permanent home of 11 horses from the organization's national herd of 500 retired Thoroughbred racehorses. These "herd ambassadors" will serve as educators to tell the story of the long life and diverse second careers that await these equine athletes when their racing days are...

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Possible Suitors for Arlington Park, But Will Churchill Sell to a Racetrack Operator?

With the track having been put up for sale and with parent company Churchill Downs Inc. failing to commit to a meet after this year's season, Arlington Park's days may be numbered. But there may be a flicker of hope. Mike Campbell, the president of the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, told the TDN that he knows of a number of companies and individuals interested in buying the track and keep it open for racing. "There is interest, for sure, from different parties that wish to keep it just as a...

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Citing Need to 'Chase Profitability,' CDI Outlines Different Paths for IL, KY Tracks

An earnings conference call with investors Thursday morning underscored that Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI), intends to sell Arlington International Racecourse near Chicago for "non-horse racing" purposes. The gaming corporation with six Thoroughbred tracks in its portfolio also announced Feb. 25 that the previously halted reconstruction project at Turfway Park has resumed now that a Kentucky bill to legally redefine historical horse race [HHR] gaming has been signed into law. But pandemic-delayed flagship property plans for a hotel, HHR facility, and track amenities expansion at Churchill Downs itself all remain on...

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Turfway Construction Halted Until KY Clears Up Historical Racing Ambiguity

Turfway Park's new grandstand and historical racing machine (HRM) facility won't get built until the state of Kentucky clears up the ambiguity surrounding the apparent illegality of that form of video gambling, which contributes tens of millions of dollars annually to purses in the state. That news was delivered by Bill Carstanjen, chief executive officer of Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI), in an Oct. 29 third-quarter earnings call with investors. CDI, a gaming corporation with six Thoroughbred tracks in its portfolio, acquired Turfway last year and soon thereafter embarked upon a...

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CDI 'Strongly Positioned,' but $300M Expansion Delayed

In a first-quarter earnings conference call on Thursday, Bill Carstanjen, the chief executive officer of Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI), said he was "more than cautiously optimistic" that the Sep. 5 GI Kentucky Derby will proceed as rescheduled, ideally with spectators allowed to attend by adhering to whatever form of COVID-19 social distancing is appropriate at that time. As part of a broader scope of fiscal progress reports, Carstanjen also gave updates on construction projects at the gaming firm's two Thoroughbred racetrack properties in Kentucky, where work is both ongoing and...

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CD Hosts Virtual Derby for Charity May 2

Churchill Downs will host a day-long at-home Kentucky Derby party in an effort to raise $2 million for COVID-19 emergency relief efforts. With this season's Kentucky Derby postponed until Sept. 5 due to the coronavirus pandemic, a special broadcast will be aired on NBC May 2, from 3 to 6 p.m. EST. The telecast will feature American Pharoah's 2015 Kentucky Derby in addition to Churchill Downs' first ever virtual horse race--The Kentucky Derby: Triple Crown Showdown, a computer-simulated version of a race. "For many fans around the country, the first...

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