Churchill Downs Pulls Out of Fair Grounds Talks

Churchill Downs Inc. announced Monday that it has ceased negotiations to acquire the financially troubled Fair Grounds Corp. in New Orleans, La.

Thomas Meeker, CDI's president and chief executive officer, said in a statement, "We believe that our offer is fair and exceeds any other offer that the debtor has received. However, we have been unsuccessful in reaching a satisfactory agreement with the parties involved.

"We continue to be interested in the asset but the delays we have experienced in this process have brought us to the conclusion that closure is not possible.

Faced with an auction Aug. 16, Fair Grounds majority owner Bryan Krantz has been granted a continuance by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Louisiana to seek a deal that would satisfy approximately $37 million owed creditors. The debt includes $25 million owed Louisiana horsemen in a settlement last week of a judgement against the track in a dispute over purse disbursements from video poker revenues.

Records released Aug. 12 indicated that CDI's preliminary auction bid of $45 million was significantly higher than any other bid received.