Churchill Downs Completes Purchase of Fair Grounds

Churchill Downs Incorporated completed its $47 million acquisition of Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans and its five off-track betting facilities on Oct. 15. CDI also announced it closed the acquisitions of two related New Orleans-area operations, Finish Line Management Corp. and Video Services.

"This is an exciting day for CDI, Fair Grounds, horsemen, and racing fans across the country as we bring together a legendary racing company and the nation's third-oldest racetrack," said Tom Meeker, CDI president and chief executive officer in a released statement. "Under our stewardship, we will work to renew Fair Grounds' legacy as one of the nation's top destinations for winter racing. We will reinvest in the facility, deliver an outstanding live racing product and distribute this product through CDI's unrivaled simulcast platform."

Meeker said with the acquisition complete, the company can now being focusing on the upcoming meet, which begins Nov.25 running through March 27. "Our staff and Fair Grounds management have made great strides in recent weeks to prepare for this meet and the racetrack's integration with CDI," he said. "We will concentrate on improving conditions in the stable area and creating marquee racing days that will showcase Louisiana racing at its finest. Most important, we will continue meeting with neighborhood business and political leaders with a view toward building strong and lasting partnerships with the community."

In the related transactions, CDI acquired the assets of Finish Line, which consists primarily of five OTB facilities in the New Orleans are. CDI also acquired VSI, the owner and operator of more than 700 video poker machines in nine locations that include Fair Grounds, the racetrack's five OTBs and three Finish Line OTBS, CDI acquired Finish Line and VSI for a total of $10.5 million.

"These acquisitions provide CDI with existing OTBs and video poker operations as well as management expertise that will provide a seamless experience for our customers," Meeker said. "For the first time, Fair grounds, Finish Line OTBs and VSI will have unified ownership, which we believe will bring operational synergies and efficiencies that will benefit our patrons and our company."