Churchill to Stop Releasing Handle Figures

Churchill Downs will no longer provide handle and attendance figures at the close of race meeting.

During an Aug. 8 conference call to discuss second-quarter earnings, Robert Evans, president and chief executive officer of Churchill Downs Inc., said the company would no longer release handle and attendance figures at the conclusion of race meets for its four racetrack properties.

Instead, Evans said, the Louisville, Ky.,-based racetrack company will discuss handle and attendance figures during quarterly conference calls.

According to Julie Koenig Loignon, vice president of communications for CDI, the company decided to stop releasing the figures because it believes handle and attendance figures are no longer key markers of how well any one operating unit or the company as a whole is doing.

"Releasing the figures during the quarterly conference calls gives us an opportunity to talk about not only handle and the revenue we derive from the handle since that is a gross number, but also a lot of the sources of the non-pari-mutuel revenue we receive, whether that be admissions or corporate hospitality, or sponsorships, which is obviously a larger source of income for Churchill Downs racetrack than it is for other racetracks around the country," Koenig Loignon said.  "Our business has become so diversified that there are more indicators as to how we are doing as whole than just handle numbers."

Koenig Loignon said CDI is still considering whether to provide the figures on request. She noted the figures are public information and are available through other sources such as Equibase, a company owned by The Jockey Club and racetracks that collects racing data, and state racing commissions that collect wagering information at the close of each race meeting.

Equibase publishes handle figures at the end of each racing day on the racing charts, but those figures can sometimes be incorrect because they do not include separate-pool wagering. -- Leslie Deckard