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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Louisiana Commission Sides with Broberg in CDI Exclusion Dispute

The Louisiana State Racing Commission (LSRC) unanimously passed a motion Tuesday that owner and trainer Karl Broberg believes will allow him to race horses at the upcoming Fair Grounds meet despite an exclusion order imposed last month by that track's corporate owner, Churchill Downs Inc. (CDI). "I am allowed to enter and run at the Fair Grounds," Broberg told TDN hours after the LSRC ruled that the private-property exclusion by CDI doesn't carry the same reciprocity as a ruling issued by a board of stewards or state racing commission. According...

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CDI Doesn't File for '22 Dates for Arlington

The July 30 deadline for applying for Illinois 2022 race dates came and went with no surprise move that might have buoyed the near-future fate of Arlington International Racecourse. If anything, suburban Chicago's landmark Thoroughbred track inched closer to permanent closure Friday, because Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI), the gaming corporation that owns the up-for-sale landmark, failed to file even a placeholder application to race next year that could have been transferred to a buyer willing to keep the sport afloat. Nor did CDI ask the Illinois Racing Board for race...

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Report: Arlington Employees Receive Layoff Notices

According to a report in Chicago's Daily Herald newspaper, Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI), the owner of Arlington Park, has sent official notices to employees informing them they will be laid off 14 days after the final day of the meet, which is Sept. 25. CDI has not committed to racing beyond the end of this meet and has put the track up for sale. The layoff notices are a discouraging development after CDI applied for 2022 Illinois racing dates. A date request is not binding and does not have to...

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CDI Reportedly Asks for '22 Illinois Dates Application

The Week in Review, by T.D. Thornton Two months before Arlington International Racecourse is scheduled to run what is feared to be the historic track's final race, Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI), the gaming corporation that owns the up-for-sale landmark, has reportedly requested an application for 2022 race dates from the Illinois Racing Board. But as columnist Jim O'Donnell of the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago put it in his Friday scoop of this story, "What the carnivorous CDI will do with the application remains to be seen." With a July...

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Eight Wins Already in '21–And It's Only June

The Week in Review, by T.D. Thornton We're not even at the midpoint of 2021, and one North American Thoroughbred is already taking aim at a ninth win on the season. For perspective, the eight wins racked up so far this year by Arizona-based Six Ninety One (Congrats) are equal to the number of victories achieved by the four horses who co-led the continent during the entirety of 2020. Such a fast start through the first 5 1/2 months puts Six Ninety One on a trajectory to blast past what...

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This Side Up: The One Thing to Envy Most at Ascot

It is as true to say that Americans and Europeans are united by an ocean as divided by one. And while horsemen are often considered insular, their transatlantic engagement--fluctuating but perennial--means that they always have things to learn from one another. In recent times, contrary to European prejudice, it is the Americans who have been more willing to leave their comfort zone. Whereas not even Coolmore have lately been rolling the dice on the dirt at the Breeders' Cup, American raiders have increasingly enriched the pageant of Royal Ascot. And...

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