CDI: Baffert 'Broke Rules, Must Bear Consequences'

Just days after the one-year anniversary of Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI)'s, ruling-off of trainer Bob Baffert over his repeated equine medication violations, the gaming corporation that controls the GI Kentucky Derby swatted back at the Hall of Fame trainer in federal court in an attempt to get a judge to dismiss a lawsuit initiated by Baffert that aims to reverse the two-year ban. "For the past eleven months, Bob Baffert has tried to dodge accountability for drugging Medina Spirit," CDI wrote in a reply brief filed June 6 in United...

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CDI Wants Baffert Suit Dismissed in Entirety

On the same afternoon that Churchill Downs took entries for the GI Kentucky Derby that included two horses formerly trained by barred trainer Bob Baffert, the gaming corporation that controls the Derby asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit Baffert had filed Feb. 28 attempt to get his private-property banishment by Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI), overturned. Back on Apr. 11, the same federal judge in United States District Court (Western District of Kentucky) had permitted Baffert to withdraw his motion for a preliminary injunction to allow him to enter...

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ITHA vs. Arlington to Federal Court

A $775,000 purse account dispute between the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (ITHA) and Arlington International Racecourse, LLC, that has simmered for over half a year got escalated to federal court Wednesday. The ITHA is alleging a purse account underpayment in 2021 from now-defunct Arlington and a breach of contract triggered by Arlington's refusal to hand over the money once it became known the property was scheduled to be sold and that no racing would occur there in 2022. Asked for comment via email late Wednesday afternoon, Arlington president Tony Petrillo...

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CDI: Baffert's Derby Lawsuit a 'Manufactured Emergency'

The gaming corporation that owns Churchill Downs told a federal judge in a late-night Tuesday court filing that Bob Baffert's lawsuit to try and get his private-property banishment and exclusion from the GI Kentucky Derby lifted would not only harm the corporation's portfolio of tracks, but would hurt the owners and trainers of other horses who have rightfully earned Derby berths but would be precluded from entering if the court rules they had to be pushed off the qualifying list to make room for the barred trainer. "This lawsuit is...

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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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Fair Grounds Not Definite on Dates Reduction

Jason Boulet, the Fair Grounds director of racing, was repeatedly pressed by Louisiana State Racing Commission (LSRC) member Tom Calvert Tuesday about whether or not his track would once again seek a statutory change to reduce its required number of race dates from 80 to 75 when the state legislature convenes its 2022 session Mar. 14. The exchange did not yield a definitive answer beyond Boulet's disclosure that the Fair Grounds and its corporate parent, the gaming firm Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI), would be in favor of participating in discussions...

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CDI Names Murr President of TwinSpires and Online Gaming

Churchill Downs Incorporated named Ben Murr as the new President of TwinSpires and Online Gaming. In this role, he will be responsible for the overall strategy and operations of these businesses. During his 14 years with CDI, he has served in multiple leadership roles including President of United Tote, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer and, most recently, as interim President of TwinSpires and Online Gaming. Prior to joining CDI, Murr worked in information technology leadership roles at General Electric. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics and a...

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Derby Prep Season is Upon Us; Get Tied On for Litigation

The Week in Review by T.D. Thornton Oaklawn Park readjusted its series of prep races for the GI Kentucky Derby this year by moving back the date of its premier stakes, the GI Arkansas Derby, so it now sits five weeks out from the first Saturday in May instead of the traditional three. That changed the overall complexion of the prep-race picture so that the final three nine-furlong stakes that award 100 coveted Derby qualifying points to the winner will all take place Apr. 9. This means that for the...

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Three CDI-Brokered Simo Signals Return to Nevada

An impasse whose origin dates back more than two years that has prevented Nevada race books from taking betting on three simulcasting signals controlled by Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI), was reportedly resolved on Wednesday, although it remains unclear which side budged or what changed in the negotiations. Mike Brunker of the Las Vegas Review-Journal broke the story Dec. 1. Three signed contracts for the Fair Grounds, Turfway Park and Oaklawn Park that were suddenly offered by CDI were inked into agreement on Wednesday by the Nevada Pari-Mutuel Association, which represents...

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Report: CDI Exploring Selling Off Twinspires

Churchill Downs Inc. is reportedly exploring selling off TwinSpires Racing, which the gaming corporation describes as the "premier online horse racing wagering platform in the United States." The financial news site Bloomberg first broke the CDI scoop at 3:40 p.m. Eastern Dec. 2, citing several sources who requested anonymity because they were sharing information that hadn't yet been divulged by the publicly traded company. A CDI official declined comment. Bloomberg reported that CDI "is working with an adviser to solicit potential interest in the wagering platform." One of the sources...

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IL HBPA Withholds Consent for TwinSpires to be in State

Edited Press Release The organization representing owners and trainers at FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing (formerly known as Fairmount Park) is withholding consent for the TwinSpires betting platform to accept wagers from Illinois residents. The board of the Illinois Horsemen's Benevolent & Protective Association cites the closure of suburban Chicago's industry icon Arlington Park by Churchill Downs Inc., TwinSpires' parent corporation, as a prime motivation for withholding consent. With CDI not owning a functioning racetrack in Illinois in 2022, TwinSpires must under state law have a contract with another duly...

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CDI Grilled by IRB About Arlington's Control of ITWs

Exactly 50 days after executing a purchase-and-sale agreement that will see Arlington International Racecourse demolished to become the future site of a football stadium, the gaming corporation Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI) came before the Illinois Racing Board (IRB) Thursday to request 2022 licensure to retain control over simulcasting at its inter-track wagering (ITW) locations even though it won't be hosting any live racing next year. The IRB heard contentious pro-and-con testimony on the Arlington-related agenda items, but in the end essentially punted on the matter by voting 10-0 to "lay...

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