Churchill Downs Inc. has renewed its membership in the National Thoroughbred Racing Association for 2009, officials confirmed Jan. 30.
In December, The Blood-Horse reported CDI, which owns and operates Arlington Park, Calder Race Course, Churchill Downs, and Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, was reviewing its membership in the NTRA. A company spokesman at that time said it’s not unusual for CDI to review its memberships in all associations.
CDI is a top-tier member of the NTRA at $400,000 a year. Its dues, and those of other major industry associations, have dropped from $1.2 million a year several years ago.
"Churchill Downs Inc. has renewed its membership in the NTRA for 2009," Churchill Downs vice president of communications John Asher said. "Our company reviewed the NTRA membership, as we routinely do with affiliations or memberships held by our company with any organization, and CDI looks forward to continue its work to advance Thoroughbred racing in 2009."
Keith Chamblin, senior vice president of communications for the NTRA, confirmed the company renewed its membership for this year and is expecting confirmation from other members.
“Although we do not have all membership agreements in hand, I believe all of our highest dues paying members, along with virtually all others, will renew for 2009,” Chamblin said. “All of our members are renewing, or being asked to renew, at the dues level approved by our (board of directors) in December.
“The dues are based on purses paid by a track in 2007, and are capped at $400,000 for our largest members.”
Rumors of CDI’s defection from the NTRA were circulating during the University of Arizona Symposium on Racing & Gaming in early December. Thus far, there is no word any members plan to back out for 2009.
The NTRA decided not to raise dues even though it has been impacted by the economic downturn. It has dipped into reserves to hold the line.