Report: Churchill Downs Inc. Interested in Fair Grounds

Churchill Downs Inc. has been in negotiations with Louisiana horsemen to acquire $90 million in legal claims against Fair Grounds, which indicates CDI could be interested in purchasing Fair Grounds, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported Wednesday.

Fair Grounds filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in August after a judge ruled Fair Grounds owed horsemen up to $100 million from video poker revenue. CDI has been in negotiations with the Louisiana Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association to acquire the horsemen's claims against Fair Grounds since October, the Times-Picayune reports.

Fair Grounds president Bryan Krantz, whose family owns a controlling interest in the New Orleans track, said he has been solicited by potential partners or buyers.

"There are interested parties within the world of pari-mutuel racing, but there are interested parties on the gaming side as well," Krantz said. "I can't really comment on Churchill's interest."

According to a document obtained by the Times-Picayune, Churchill would pay a specific percentage of whatever a judge awards horsemen in the their video poker case against in Fair Grounds. Regardless of ownership, Fair Grounds is liable for the debt.

Krantz told the paper settlement talks between Fair Grounds and the horsemen are ongoing.

Julie Koenig, a spokesperson for Churchill Downs, would not confirm the company's interest in Fair Grounds.

"The company's policy is not to comment on any business activities until they've reached a point of substantial conclusion," Koenig said.

Fair Grounds has until March 29 to submit a reorganization plan.