Fewer racing dates and an unfavorable racing commission ruling led net revenue for Churchill Downs Inc. to drop by 6% during the year's third quarter.
CDI reported net revenue of $117.5 million for the three months ending Sept. 31, which was down from $125.6 million during last year's third quarter. Net earnings remained level at $7.9 million, or 59 cents a share.
CDI president Tom Meeker said the company conducted 37 fewer racing days during this year's third quarter and a reduction in the riverboat subsidy paid to Hoosier Park in Indiana led to the revenue decline. CDI did receive a settlement for last year's real estate taxes paid at Arlington Park, but it was offset by the establishment of a purse overpayment fund, Meeker said.
Meeker warned investors CDI's fourth quarter will not be comparable to last year's final quarter because of a shift in racing dates and the unknown effect an ongoing construction project at Churchill Downs will have on on-track business.
"Our fourth quarter will feature far fewer racing dates overall making the comparisons to the same quarter in 2002 dissimilar. In addition, we will be challenged to improve our on-track performance this quarter, especially at Churchill Downs, where the clubhouse facility is closed during renovations until 2005."
Meeker does expect results at the end of the year to exceed the company's estimate of $1.80 per diluted share.