Bankruptcy Court Approves Churchill Downs Purchase of Fair Grounds

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Louisiana, has approved Churchill Downs Incorporated's $47-million purchase of Fair Grounds, according to a release from Churchill Downs. CDI, the Fair Grounds Corporation, and Louisiana Horseman's Benevolent and Protective Association are expected to close the transaction on or before Oct. 15.

"The bankruptcy court's ruling today brought us one step closer to achieving what we believe is an excellent strategic fit between Fair Grounds and CDI and an ideal entrée for our company into a city and state with such a rich heritage," said Thomas Meeker, CDI's president and chief executive officer in a prepared statement. "The Fair Ground' tradition, quality racing and winter-race schedule are well complemented by CDI's operational expertise, industry-leading brand and simulcast network.

"Going forward, we will now turn our focus on closing the transaction, immersing ourselves into the New Orleans racing community and supporting the Fair Grounds staff in delivering an outstanding 2004-2005 meet," Meeker continued. "We will look to the continued guidance and involvement of Fair Grounds management as we undertake this important transition process and begin building what we believe will be a long and prosperous partnership with employees, patrons, horsemen, and the community at large.

Fair Grounds is scheduled to open its 82-day meet Nov. 25 with a closing date of March 27.